U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- On 24 May, Monday afternoon, the last significant legislative hurdle for restoring Constitutional Carry to Texas was overcome.
After years of toil, time and trouble, of betrayal and loyalty, of primaries and resignations, a significant Constitutional Carry bill has passed the Texas Legislature and is expected to be sent to Governor Abbott.
Constitutional carry is a reasonable facsimile of the state of law about the carry of weapons when the Second Amendment was ratified, in 1791. At the time, no government permits were required to carry weapons, openly or concealed, by any State or the Federal government. That situation remained the state of law for about two generations.
It is almost certain Texas will become a member of the Constitutional Carry club in 2021. It will make Texas the 21st state to join the club. There have not been any statistically significant ill effects from Constitutional Carry in any of the previous 20 states.
HB 1927, in its final form of the Conference Committee report contains some relatively minor amendments wrangled over and included in the legislative process.
Here are some highlights of HB 1927, as interpreted by this correspondent, who is not a lawyer.
1. Peace Officers may disarm a person at any time the officer reasonably believes it is necessary for the protection of the person, officer or another person. The officer shall return the handgun if the officer determines the person is not a threat before the person leaves the scene.
2. Peace Officers, in the lawful performance of their duties, may temporarily disarm a person when the person enters a public, non-secure portion or a law enforcement facility, if a gun locker or other secure storage areas is/are provided. The firearm shall be returned immediately after the person leaves the unsecured area.
3. Persons convicted of illegal possession of a weapon under Section 46.02(a), before September 1, 2021 are :
“entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged”
Subject to certain time limits and procedures.
4. Carrying a firearm, if forbidden to do so in public, has a five-year mandatory sentence.
5. The Department of Public Safety will publish a report on firearm statistics related to the carrying of firearms each year.
6. The department of Public Safety will create a course on firearm safety and handling, available on the Department’s Internet site, freely accessible to the public.
7. In order to legally carry without a permit, in public, outside of a motor vehicle, it is required the person has not been convicted of one of the following offenses in the previous five years:
- Assault with bodily injury;
- Recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury (shooting at building or cars, or pointing guns at people);
- Making a terroristic threat;
- Discharging a firearm in a public place other than a public road or sport shooting range;
- Displays a firearm in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.
8. A person who is a member of a criminal street gang may not carry a handgun on or about their person in a motor vehicle or watercraft. (with exceptions for traveling, hunting, or fishing).
9. Creates the signage requirement for a 30.05 sign to go with the 30.06 and 30.07 signs. The 30.05 sign is not necessary if 30.06 or 30.07 signs are used.
The law, if signed by Governor Abbot, will go into effect on 1 September, 2021.
While HB1927 is not perfect, it removes 90% of the restrictions against Constitutional Carry which existed before the bill passed. 90% of adults will be able to carry, without government permission, in 95% of the places they could not carry before.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.