87th LegislatureGunsState HouseState SenateTexas Constitutional Carry Bill Headed to Conference to Sort Dispute Over Senate Amendments

The constitutional carry bill working its way through the Texas legislature is now headed toward a conference committee to sort out the dispute over the Senate amendments.
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House Bill (HB) 1927, the constitutional carry bill to allow the carry of a handgun in public without a permit moved over one more hurdle as the Texas House rejected the Senate amendments and requested a conference committee.

The House’s appointees to the proposed conference committee will be the bill’s author, Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), as well as Reps. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), James White (R-Hillister), Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), and Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) — all of whom supported the original House version.

Earlier in the evening, Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) had raised a point of order soon after Schaefer began to lay out the Senate-amended bill.

Turner, the chair of the House Democratic caucus, objected to the germaneness of at least one of the amendments added to the bill by the Senate, which approved HB 1927 after adding eight amendments to the House version.

Some Second Amendment activists, such as Gun Owners of America, had expressed concerns that the Senate amendments to HB 1927 might have killed the bill or at least delayed the process. Ultimately, though, Turner’s point of order was withdrawn and its move toward the conference committee was made official.

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The author of most of the Senate amendments was Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), the chairman of the special committee Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick formed to consider the signature gun rights bill, and all of the added amendments were unanimously supported in the upper chamber.

Now that the House has selected its conferees, the Senate will need to do the same.

The clock is ticking for Republicans to move HB 1927 through both chambers and to the governor’s desk. Since the legislature is required to adjourn sine die at 11:59 p.m. on May 31, the bill could still be lost if the conference committee cannot come to an agreement in the next 19 days that is amenable to both the House and Senate.

The final day that lawmakers have to approve the bill will be Sunday, May 30.

Gov. Greg Abbott promised in a radio interview earlier this year to sign the bill into law if the legislature approves it.

Timeline of Constitutional Carry in the 87th Legislature:

Feb. 12: Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) files House Bill (HB) 1927.

March 15: HB 1927 is read for the first time and referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, chaired by Rep. James White (R-Hillister).

March 25: HB 1927, along with three other constitutional carry bills, are heard during a marathon hearing in White’s committee.

April 1: White’s committee approves HB 1927.

April 12: The committee report of HB 1927 is filed and sent to the Calendars Committee.

April 15: HB 1927 is brought to the House floor for the first vote before the whole chamber and is approved in an 84 to 56 vote.

April 16: HB 1927 is formally approved by the House in a second vote before the chamber in an 87 to 58 vote.

April 19: HB 1927 is received in the Senate. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says that the Senate does not “have the votes on the floor to pass it.” 

April 22: Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) is given permission to file a new constitutional carry bill in the Senate, which is referred to the House Administration Committee, which Schwertner chairs.

April 23: A new “Special Senate Committee on Constitutional Issues” is created by Patrick, Schwertner is appointed as the chair, the committee is packed with Republican senators supportive of constitutional carry, and HB 1927 is referred to the committee.

April 27: Gov. Greg Abbott says he will sign the constitutional carry bill when it reaches his desk.

April 29: HB 1927 is heard and approved by the special committee, and Patrick says he will bring the bill to the Senate floor the following week.

May 5: HB 1927 is brought to the Senate floor and is approved in an 18 to 13, party-line vote, but with eight new amendments.

May 12: The House receives the bill back to its floor, refuses to concur with the Senate amendments, and requests a conference committee.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.