AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police associations and chiefs from all over Texas Tuesday spoke about their opposition to bills gaining steam in the legislature that would allow people to carry a gun without a license.
Led by the Dallas Police Association, the press conference featured representatives from other police associations in Texas, as well as licensed instructors who teach handgun classes in order for people to obtain permits.
Mike Mata, the president of the Dallas Police Association, says it’s not a good idea to allow people with no training to handle firearms.
“Every police officer in Texas supports the right of our citizens to arm themselves for sport, hunting and protection,” he said. “But as with any Constitutional right there comes great responsibility. For the safety of Texas residents, we want to make sure everyone who carries a firearm is well trained, follow basic gun safety measures and understand the importance of responsible gun usage.”
One of the bills, House Bill 1911, would allow Texans over 21 years of age to carry a firearm without the standard licensing. That means it would also eliminate required firearms training.
That’s why the Texas Police Chiefs Association said the bill would pose a threat to all law enforcement officers, along with the general public.
“Citizens would not have to demonstrate proficiency with the firearm, or even basic awareness of firearms safety. At least with the license to carry permit, citizens must demonstrate basic knowledge and an awareness of the laws.”
State Rep. James White, R-Hillister, authored the bill this session. He said the training and licenses should not trump Second Amendment rights.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re on the left or the right, or in the in the middle,” he said during a March 25 hearing. “Everybody wants their rights.”
Later Tuesday afternoon, the Texas GOP chairman held a press conference in Grapevine in support of the bill. He reiterated the current license requirement being unconstitutional and said getting rid of the requirement would not increase crime.
“When you create laws that tell people what they can and can’t do as far as being a legal law-abiding firearm owner, the only people that are going to obey those laws are the legal firearm owners,” Chairman Allen West said.