Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1927, Permitless Constitutional Carry, into law, finally! Allowing holstered handguns to be carried in Texas without a permit. Beginning Sept. 1, anyone 21 years old or older, who can legally possess a firearm in Texas, will be able to carry a handgun in public, openly or concealed, without a permit. Granted, 20 other states have done this before Texas, but Texas joining that club is a big deal, and I’ll tell you why.
But first, let me give you a little “inside baseball” look at what it took to get here. Though many people outside of Texas has this wild west impression of Texas, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, from 1871 to 1995 there was no open or concealed carry or carry permits in Texas. The first Texas law against concealed and open carry was “An Act to Regulate the Keeping and Bearing of Deadly Weapons, Law of April 12, 1871, ch. 34, §1, 1871 Tex. Gen. Laws 25” passed as part of post-Civil War Reconstruction.
The Road To Permitless Constitutional Carry
The Reconstruction Era law remained largely unchanged until 1995, when the 74th Legislature passed SB 60, and the new Governor George W. Bush fulfilled a campaign promise to sign the first Texas concealed carry bill. A major shift in the gun rights debate driven in large part by two people, Senator Jerry Patterson and Suzanna Gratia-Hupp, who rose to prominence after the Luby’s mass shooting tragedy in Killeen. Having watched both of her parents be killed, while her gun was left in her car, Suzanna provided essential and powerful testimony at a critical time.
It would be another 20 years before another significant change took place. In 2015, Open Carry (with a permit) and Campus Carry passed. Despite a massive turn out for legislative hearings in favor of Permitless Constitutional Carry. It was another small step towards where we are today. But WHY has it been such a struggle for Texas to get here? In part, because of where it all began during post-Civil War Reconstruction.
Some unfortunate language from Reconstruction era Constitutions remain in the current Texas Constitution ratified in 1876. Primarily, Article 1 Section 23, which reads: “RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.” The infamous BUT has been a royal pain in the BUTT for gun rights activists for over a century.
Why Texas Is A Big Deal
The Reconstruction language remains, BUT it has finally been overcome by the concerted efforts of mainly grassroots organizations. So, besides the long and rocky road to get here, now that we are here, what’s the big deal? Let’s take a look at some numbers, shall we?
- Texas Population (2020 Census) – 29,145,505. Just shy of 10% of the entire US Population – 331,108,434. (Census 2020)
- Texas is the only one of the top 5 most populous states to pass Permitless Constitutional Carry.
- Combined population of other 20 Permitless Constitutional Carry states: 54,553,276. (2020 Census)
- Total Population with Permitless Constitutional Carry protections, 83,698,781 a more that 50% increase.
- Prior to Texas’ passage, about 16.4% of the US population lived in Constitutional Carry states, now that is more that 25% of the US population.
Just the sheer size of Texas, in land mass, populations, major cities and overall gun ownership rates makes this a giant leap forward for gun rights and constitutional liberties. It has been a hard fought, uphill battle that Cold Dead Hands has been involved in since its inception. As we always say, because it’s our motto, EDUCATE – MOTIVATE – ADVOCATE. Twenty-One States freed from gun control tyranny, twenty-nine more and the federal government to go. Always Advancing, never retreating.
Good Job Texas! Who’s Next?