A Texas Senate bill has been filed to address the high license to carry fees in Texas.
SB 16, the “License to Carry Fee Reform Act,” relates to the removal of fees for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun. Republicans in the senate pre-filed the bill and will be pushing it forward during the next session.
The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) issued a statement applauding Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and state Senators Robert Nicols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston) “for prioritizing and pre-filing legislation for the 85th regular session to address License To Carry (LTC) fees in Texas.”
The legislative arm of the gun rights advocacy organization added, “This is important legislation for the 2017 Texas Legislative Session–License To Carry (LTC) fees in the Lone Star State are some of the highest in the nation. No hard-working, law-abiding Texan should be priced out of the ability to exercise his or her right to self-defense.”
The NRA concluded that “SB 16 will allow honest citizens at all income levels to have equal access to this vital personal protection option.”
The bill also removes a provision that required payment of a fee for a criminal history record check for both resident and nonresident applicants for a Capitol access pass.
The bill amends 411.181(h) of the Texas Government Code to remove a nonrefundable fee for a duplicate license.
SB 16 amends section 411.190(c) to remove the $100 fee for a background check for a handgun instructor. It does not remove the $100 fee for the training of the licensed to carry instructor.
The nonrefundable application and license fees set for active or retired judicial officers and felony prosecutors have also been removed.
Mental health background fees would be waived.
“Texas has one of the highest license to carry fees in the country. SB 16 will make lawful carry more affordable for law abiding citizens across the state. No Texan should be deprived of their right to self-protection because of onerous licensing fees imposed by the state,” Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick said in a statement released from his office.
“I strongly support this legislation and commend Sen. Nichols for his dedication and leadership to further support 2nd Amendment Rights,” Lt. Gov. Patrick also said.
“The Second Amendment right to bear arms is one of our most fundamental freedoms,” said Senator Joan Huffman. “State law should make a ‘License to Carry’ accessible to qualified Texans. Accordingly, I believe it is time for the State of Texas to make the ‘License to Carry’ process more affordable. I look forward to working with Senator Nichols and Lt. Governor Patrick to make this bill become law.”
Terry Holcomb, Sr., founder of Texas Carry told Breitbart Texas, “We would like to thank the senators for addressing the injustice of the current licensing fee. Far too many citizens in Texas have been priced out of their right to self-defense. The bill seeks to give some relief to this.”
Holcomb added, “We also look forward to seeing unlicensed carry passed as no one should be forced to pay a tax to exercise a right if they meet the eligibility requirements.”
If the LTC fee bill is passed in its current state, the law would take effect on September 1, 2017.