Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says Senate currently lacks the votes to pass permitless carry of handguns
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday that the state Senate does not currently have the votes to pass permitless carry of handguns but that he will try to see if there is a “path” to change that.
The news from the Republican presiding officer of the Senate came days after the House approved a permitless carry bill, commonly referred to as “constitutional carry” by supporters.
“If we have the votes to pass a permitless carry bill off the Senate floor, I will move it,” Patrick said in a statement. “At this point we don’t have the votes on the floor to pass it. I plan to meet with law enforcement who oppose permitless carry and with the [National Rifle Association] and [Gun Owners of America] who support it to see if we can find a path that a majority of senators will vote to pass.”
In most cases, Senate bills require 18 votes from the 31-member chamber to be considered on the floor. There are only 18 GOP senators, so a permitless-carry bill would need the support of every Republican in the chamber to reach the floor — or at least one Democratic vote if any Republicans defect.
On Friday afternoon, one key GOP senator, Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo, suggested he may not be immediately supportive of the proposal. He told The Texas Tribune that his office was still researching the issue and he tends to support “just about all” bills related to gun rights, but the “system that we have now works.” He said it was too early to say whether he would block the bill from coming to the floor or vote against it if it made it to the floor.
House Bill 1927 would get rid of the requirement for Texas residents to get a license to carry handguns if they are not already prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm. The House gave final approval to the legislation on Friday morning in an 87-58 vote that included seven Democrats in support of it.
Supporters of permitless carry, including gun rights groups and conservative Republicans, argued the measure simply allows Texans to exercise rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment. Many Democrats, joined by some law enforcement officers and faith leaders in opposition, instead cited the need for stricter gun safety measures following the 2019 mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa. The debate over gun laws in Texas has emerged as a top issue this session as gun violence nationwide — including a shooting in Bryan on April 8 and another in Austin on Sunday — has reignited the longstanding debates over gun control.
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