Bill would eliminate license requirement to carry a handgun

SAN ANTONIO -- A Texas lawmaker wants to make it easier for people to carry a handgun. House Bill 1911 would allow Texans to openly carry handguns without a license.

It's proposed by Rep. James White, a Republican from East Texas. The bill just cleared a House committee and can now be scheduled for a full House floor vote, but it’s stirring up controversy.

“The education part is a big deal,” said Lonestar Handgun President Josh Felker. Felker is a big proponent of firearms education.

Lonestar Handgun educates more than 300 people a month in South Texas.

Felker says he can see both sides to the proposed law. “I think it's a good thing,” he said. “At the same time I think education on when and where you can pull the trigger is a good thing.”

The bill supports that it's your constitutional right to bear arms.

It’s known as the "constitutional carry” bill and would allow almost anyone over the age of 21 without a felony conviction to carry a handgun with or without a permit.

“Someone that wants to seek out education will do so,” said Felker. “Those that don't care are going to carry that firearm whether they legally can or not.”

But gun control advocates disagree.

“Making a license optional is basically saying training isn't important anymore for the public safety,” said Texas Gun Sense Executive Director Andrea Bauer. “It implies every Texan who wants to carry is going to seek out all this information, understand it, and train themselves with no overseeing organization or authority. It's very faulty and confusing.”

If the bill becomes law, it’s projected gun schools and the state would lose money because licenses and fees would no longer be required.

Felker reminds people that knowledge is power. “We want people who carry firearms to be knowledgeable,” he said.

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