The legislative placeholder text for Texas House Bill 195, introduced yesterday, is short and sweet:
Relating to the carrying of handguns; providing for the open carrying of handguns; removing the requirement that a person who may lawfully possess handguns obtain a Concealed Handgun License in order to carry a handgun lawfully in the state of Texas, and conforming changes.
Whether the bill ends up pigeonholed in committee for “study” until it dies or it it gains support to move forward is the real question. I have to confess that as someone half-way across the nation, I don’t profess to have any insight into the mindset of the Texas House, so I don’t know if a constitutional carry bill will have the support that open carry legislation seems to have built in the Lone Star State.
There are a number of people—foremost among them firearms instructors and law enforcement professionals—who reasonably worry that constitutional carry would allow the completely untrained, unvetted, and uneducated to carry firearms.
If you’ve sat in on a concerned carry class—or more than one as I have, since I like to watch other instructors work—you might be simultaneously stunned, amazed, and disheartened to discover what many people think that a concealed carry licenses allows them to do prior to being trained.
I’ve seen students that thought a permit would allow them to make arrests. I’ve seen students who thought that a permit would allow them to pick fights with someone they didn’t like, and then shoot them. My neighbor who just went to a concealed carry class this past weekend was utterly amazed at the questions that students in his class of 40+ had, including the supposition of one student who was convinced—even after the instructor told her otherwise—that she could not shoot someone who threatened her dog.
It is going to be very interesting to see if a constitutional carry bill can get traction in Texas this session.
If anyone from Texas can shed some light on how they think the bill might proceed, I’m sure that other folks are just as curious as I am.