Deadline Approaching For Abbott To Sign Constitutional Carry

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Back on May 28th, the Texas state legislature formally sent HB 1927 to Gov. Greg Abbott. The bill establishing a Constitutional Carry law that allows legal gun owners to lawfully carry a handgun without the need for a state-issued license had the public support of Gov. Greg Abbott, but it’s been almost two weeks now and the governor has yet to sign the legislation.

There’ve been some whispers around Austin that some in law enforcement are still lobbying the governor to reject the bill or demand changes after public opposition failed to derail the measure in the legislature.

… a number of Texas police associations led by the Dallas Police Association held a news conference May 25 to speak in opposition to the bill. The officers who spoke are concerned about the lack of safety awareness if a carrier is not licensed.

Locally, spokesmen for police agencies have either declined to comment on the issue until it is officially signed into law or say they will enforce the law no matter what because that’s part of the job.

Shawn Vaughn, spokesman for the Texarkana Texas Police Department said TTPD will enforce the law without speaking out for or against it.

“We enforce the law, whatever the legislature sees fit,” Vaughn said.

Complaints about people carrying handguns are very few locally, Vaughn said.

“We’ve had no major issues. There are some people who will still be prohibited from carrying guns, such as felons, and those are the main ones we are concerned about,” he said.

Hooks Police Chief Ricky Woodard said his department will enforce the law without opinion.

“I will support the law and the Constitution,” he said.

Under Texas law, the governor has ten days to sign or veto a bill or else it becomes law without his signature. Adding in the Memorial Day holiday, the ten day period for HB 1927 should expire next Monday, so we don’t have much longer to wait to see what Abbott will decide to do.

I have a very hard time imagining Abbott vetoing the bill, given that he publicly supported HB 1927 as it was making its way through the state House and Senate. Abbott is also up for re-election next year, and already faces a primary opponent who’s trying to run to the right of the governor. A veto of Constitutional Carry would give former state Sen. Don Huffines an easy issue to use against Abbott, and I doubt that the governor really wants to make his support for the Second Amendment a campaign question.

It’s possible, however, that Abbott could allow the bill to become law while calling for tweaks to the bill’s language. The legislative session has concluded for the year, but the governor is expected to call for a special session at some point. Lawmakers could end up taking another look at the specific language in HB 1927, but I doubt that any wholesale changes weakening Constitutional Carry would pass either the House or the Senate. After all, Abbott isn’t the only Republican thinking about next year’s elections, and I don’t think supporters of HB 1927 really want to explain to voters why and how a bill that enjoyed the support of the legislature and the governor ended up as something less than what was promised.

Ultimately, this may be much ado about nothing. Abbott recently told a Dallas television station that he had more than 1,000 bills on his desk to sign or veto, so perhaps the governor simply hasn’t gotten around to HB 1927 yet. The clock is ticking, however, and with Monday’s deadline looming, let’s hope Gov. Abbott moves Constitutional Carry to the top of the pile of legislation on his desk. Having the bill become law without his signature would be an okay outcome, but given the importance of Texas becoming the 21st Constitutional Carry state, I think the pomp and ceremony of a public signing ceremony is warranted here.