This week, Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) reaffirmed his commitment to sign into law an open carry bill currently being considered by the Texas Legislature.
As Breitbart Texas reported, the open carry bill, SB 17, passed the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee last month on a 7-2 vote on partisan lines. The two Democrats on the committee, Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), voted against the bill, and the Republicans voted for it: Committee Chair Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), and Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown). The Texas Senate is expected to bring SB 17 to the floor Monday for a vote.
The bill is, in essence, an expansion of the state’s current regulations for concealed handgun licenses (CHL). SB 17 would allow those who have qualified for a CHL to also carry a handgun openly, in a belt or shoulder holster. Current Texas law allow the open carry of long guns like shotguns and rifles. Some gun rights activists have advocated for “constitutional carry,” or allowing people to carry guns without the need for a license, but that approach was not adopted by Estes, the author of the bill.
On the first day after he won the election last November, Abbott vowed that he would sign an open carry bill if the Legislature sent one to his desk, as Breitbart Texas reported.
In a post from his personal Twitter account Sunday evening, Abbott posted a link to the Breitbart Texas article from earlier that day, “Texas Legislature Ready to Move Forward on Open Carry Bill,” with the comment, “I’m warming up my signing pen.”
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 16, 2015
SB 17 is expected to pass on partisan lines, similar how it did in committee, with the majority of Republicans voting in favor, and the majority of Democrats voting against.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.