87th LegislatureGunsState HouseState SenateTexas Constitutional Carry Bill Signed Into Law by Gov. Abbott

Texas is set to become the next state in the country to allow the carry of handguns without a permit.
June 16, 2021
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On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill (HB) 1927, the “constitutional carry” bill that worked its way through the legislative process over the past five months, according to Texas Legislature Online, the state’s legislative tracking resource.

The governor’s office released a media advisory stating that Abbott would sign HB 1927 and several other pro-Second Amendment bills during a ceremony at the Alamo on Thursday.

Effective September 1, 2021, most Texans over the age of 21 will be able to legally carry a handgun in public without obtaining a currently required License to Carry (LTC).

Authored by Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) and sponsored by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) in the Senate, HB 1927 applies to individuals over 21 who can legally possess a firearm and have not been convicted in the previous five years of assault causing bodily injury, deadly conduct, terroristic threats, or illegally discharging a firearm in a public place or displaying a firearm in a manner calculated to alarm.

Under the new law, some places where carrying a firearm has been statutorily prohibited remain prohibited, such as at public schools, bars, hospitals, and amusement parks.

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Individuals who carry a handgun in such restricted locations that have signs posted prohibiting the carry of weapons are subject to a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony if they refuse to leave after being given personal notice.

Carrying a handgun on other private businesses that prohibit weapons results in a maximum Class C misdemeanor if the individual leaves after receiving personal notice of the prohibition.

“Campus carry” — the ability to legally carry a handgun at universities — is restricted to individuals who have obtained an LTC, as is carrying on Lower Colorado River Authority property.

Unless on private property, individuals are not permitted to carry a handgun while intoxicated under the legislation.

In addition to allowing lawful individuals to carry a handgun without a permit, the Senate also added provisions that were kept in the final version of HB 1927 to increase the criminal penalties for individuals who illegally possess a firearm.

Under the bill, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is required to develop a free online firearm safety training course.

The LTC program will remain in effect and available to anyone who wishes to obtain a Texas-issued permit.

Some states that do not have a form of constitutional carry recognize Texas’ LTC permits.

Since a federal background check is required to obtain an LTC, the process for purchasing a firearm from a gun dealer is also usually expedited for permit holders.

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.

May 13: The Senate appoints its conferees for the committee.

May 21: Schaefer announces that the House and Senate conferees reached an agreement on what the final bill will look like.

May 23: The House approves the conference committee report in an 82 to 62 vote.

May 24: The Senate approves the conference committee report in a 17 to 13 party-line vote.

May 28: HB 1927 is sent to the governor.

June 9: Abbott signs HB 1927 into law.

Update: This article was updated to include reference to the signing at the Alamo.

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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.