Texas legislators have removed a surprisingly controversial and arguably redundant “no-stop” provision from open carry legislation, creating a final draft which could be voted on by both the House and Senate at virtually any time:
Texas lawmakers on Thursday negotiated a final version of a bill allowing licensed open carry of handguns, easing concerns of police and priming it for a vote that would send it to Gov. Greg Abbott.
House and Senate negotiators said they stripped out a no-stop provision — language that sought to bar police from demanding to see the license of someone carrying a gun if they had no other reason to stop the person.
That component had passed both Republican-dominated chambers by large margins, but later prompted angry rebuttal from law enforcement around the state. Police called it a “game changer” that would endanger officers and the public.
A final vote could come as early as Friday. The legislative session ends Monday.
Open carry has been one of the major gun-rights issues of the legislative session, and Abbott has pledged to sign it into law.
A weakened campus carry bill also appears to be nearing a final vote.
The Texas Senate author of the campus-carry gun bill said Thursday that he will not fight to remove an amendment, added by the House, that would allow universities to declare certain areas off-limits to guns.
Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, had steadfastly rejected a number of Democratic attempts to limit the scope of campus carry during floor votes earlier in the session.
On Thursday, however, he said the House’s limited opt-out amendment contained several safeguards — barring, for example, campuswide bans on guns while requiring universities to report to the Legislature about their policies on gun-free areas. In addition, at least two-thirds of the board of regents must approve each school’s gun policy.
Birdwell added that as Senate Bill 11heads to a conference committee, he will work to remove a second House amendment requiring private universities to allow guns on campus. Under the original bill, private schools were allowed to opt out of campus carry, which would allow concealed handguns to be carried into dorms, classrooms and other campus buildings.
Gun control supporters and anti-gun Democrats have been fighting tooth and nail to prevent either measure from passing, but it appears that both open carry and campus carry will both be passed before the end of the legislative session on Monday and sent to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.