Breaking new ground in a concerted effort to expand gun rights, a Texas House committee approved legislation Tuesday that would allow handguns to be carried — concealed or in a holster — without a state-issued license.
Approval came on a 6-2 party-line vote even though all six Republicans voting in favor of House Bill 1911 did so despite reservations — one over concerns that unlicensed carry could hinder police officers and five because they believed the bill didn’t go far enough to remove restrictions on gun owners.
“I’m voting for it, and I’m proud to do so,” said state Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie. “It’s the first bill to be voted on in the Texas House to allow permitless carry of a handgun.”
Wray added, however, that he will begin working on floor amendments “to dial in 1911 to rectify restrictions on permitless carry,” including restrictions for those convicted of a nonviolent Class B misdemeanor.
The version of HB 1911 approved by the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee contained several substantial changes from the version that drew extensive public testimony three weeks ago.