In the final weeks of the 87th Texas Legislature, the Texas House passed HB 1927, legislation that would allow Texans over the age of 21 to carry a gun in public without a permit. The Texas Senate will determine whether this permitless carry bill will pass or not.
The Senate needs to shoot down this bill before even more Texans get shot. This bill, which would eliminate the requirement for Texans to obtain a license to carry guns, also removes the gun training requirement, as well as the background check.
Gun violence is already a pressing issue in Texas and this bill would only worsen the problem. According to the World Population Review, Texas already has the highest rates of gun violence in the United States. Eliminating permits, training and background checks is not the solution. If gun violence was already an issue prior to this bill, allowing anyone to legally carry guns with no training will drastically escalate this problem.
Especially in today’s politically-charged climate, this bill could not have come at a worse time. So far in 2021, there have been 147 mass shootings. With the nation so polarized and divided, granting the public unfettered access to deadly weapons will only raise the death rate.
Even police officers are not on board with this bill. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was among the police officials that gathered at the state capital to plead with Republican lawmakers, informing them how this bill would make Texas less safe. This bill would be a nightmare for police officers, who would be forced into volatile situations with untrained gun carriers. Furthermore, police officers would not be able to tell if an armed person was an armed criminal or not, which is crucial both for their safety and for the public’s safety. Without the early background check, anyone is able to carry a gun, with the police unable to determine who is more dangerous. The potential for injury and death with untrained and unchecked individuals is astronomical and places both officers and citizens in danger.
Many argue that this bill is simply giving Texans their Second Amendment right to own a gun. Texans already have the right to own a gun, which is why Texas is considered the most “armed” state, with the most registered guns in the country. The Second Amendment does not grant citizens unlimited access to guns; even former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia agreed that the most conservative interpretation of the Second Amendment allowed for regulations.
A popular saying amongst Republicans is “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” If that is true, there is no reason for the government to make it easier for people to kill people. Why directly hand the public a weapon of death without any hesitation? Every single gun, even a handgun, has the capacity to permanently take a life. Allowing anyone to carry a gun without any training or a background check is a blatant slap in the face to our safety. There is no downside to requiring gun owners be trained before handling dangerous weapons but there are only downsides to passing this bill. Our legislators are making this state more dangerous than ever with this bill.
This permitless carry bill is not just taking a step in the wrong direction, but a leap. There is no feasible argument that could justify this legislation being passed. If the senators truly care about Texans’ lives, they will reject this bill.