AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texans 21 and older will be able to carry a handgun in public in the state beginning Wednesday, September 1, under House Bill 1927.
There are exceptions for felons and those under 21, and buyers will still be required to pass a background check at a gun store.
“As far as gun sales, nothing’s going to change with this law. So anyone that walks into the gun store, if they do not have a license to carry a handgun, we have to call the FBI and do a background check on them,” Central Texas Gun Works owner Michael Cargill explained the sales procedure won’t be changing for him and other store owners.
But he’ll be reminding his customers to follow through with training, even if they won’t be applying for a license and the required training that comes with it.
“We actually failed at least one person a week in our class because they don’t know gun safety. You will learn in a classroom or life will teach you by way of getting convicted of a crime getting charged with the crime or dying,” Cargill explained.
Those calling for gun reform explain that this bill moves in the wrong direction.
“Republican lawmakers promised action on gun safety after the tragic loss of life in El Paso, and middle of Odessa, not to mention all the injuries. And now we know that they are full of empty promises,” Molly Bursey with Moms Demand Action Texas said.
She’s worried this bill will lead to guns falling into the wrong hands, especially since the background check is only required at federally licensed brick-and-mortar stores.
“Many private gun sales are facilitated by meeting online. And folks can go around the background check system that way,” Bursey explained.
Gun-rights advocates point to added penalties in the bill if you’re caught carrying when you shouldn’t be, though.
“If you are a prohibited person, and you get access to a firearm, you’re looking at a third-degree felony by being in possession of a firearm when you’re not supposed to. So if they’re willing to take that chance, it’s not gonna be a misdemeanor anymore, it’s gonna be a felony,” Cargill explained.
The bill will still prohibit Texans from carrying without a license in places protected by federal law, which includes schools and airports.