Texas became the latest state to implement permitless carry, or Constitutional Carry, on September 1, 2021. There are now a total of 21 states with permitless carry laws on the books. Texas was one of three states to implement this kind of law in 2021 alone.
Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1927 into law on June 16. “We support the right of every law-abiding American to be able to have a weapon to defend themselves,” said Abbott upon signing the bill. “That is different from teenagers unlawfully getting access to guns to commit crimes. Those are people who deserve to be behind bars for the rest of their lives.”
This new law allows Texans to carry holstered handguns in public without permits, as long as the person is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing firearms. Prohibited persons include people convicted of certain felonies or violent crimes, people named as subjects of a protective order, and people who are deemed by a court to be too mentally incompetent to possess a firearm.
The law also mandates that handgun licenses cannot be revoked if a licensee in otherwise good legal standing has previously been convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon.
There are, however, a few requirements under the law. The person in possession of a holstered handgun must be at least 21 years of age and, if they are on another person’s private property, they must have consent from the property owner to carry the gun in plain view.
As was expected, the reaction of people to this new law is mixed, both in and out of the gun community and law enforcement circles.
Bill Mischke is a shooting instructor who has been teaching self defense for over 20 years. “I understand and I support the second amendment,” he said, “but I’m concerned that people might be not getting the training they need and carrying a weapon without having adequate training.”
“Merely having a handgun is not self defense,” he said.
While some police officers do not view the law favorably, others welcome it. “I think it is important to note that the new law is not as drastic as some people make it sound,” Interim Mesquite Police Chief David Faaborg said. “The biggest change that the new law makes is that it eliminates the need for a law-abiding citizen to get a license to carry a handgun responsibly. The changes to the law do not legalize all of the reckless ways that people misuse guns.”
Faaborg stressed that illegal use of a firearm is, well, illegal, and that the new law doesn’t change that.
Carrollton Police Chief Derick Miller said,“I certainly encourage responsible gun ownership, but as with any new law it is simply our duty to enforce House Bill 1927 now that it has taken effect.”
Miller added when concealed carry and open carry took effect in years past, the police saw no discernable bump in crime, which was the fear and cry of most of the laws’ detractors.
Only time will tell how the new law plays out in Texas, but if it goes like it has in all of the other states with Constitutional Carry, there’s nothing to worry about.