Guns and Gear

Texas Gun Rights Advocates Push For ‘Constitutional Carry’ Rights

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Jordan Fox Reporting Intern
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“Constitutional carry” may not be a term in many people’s vocabulary, but it is becoming a main talking point for gun advocates in Texas and across the United States.

A bill introduced by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, called the Texas Constitutional Carry Act of 2017, will authorize anyone to carry a handgun without requiring the training, taxes or licensing already in place.

Constitutional carry still would not be allowed in certain areas, according to the bill, including at a sporting event, in a hospital without approval or while attending a government meeting or proceeding. The law also prohibits constitutional carry for people who are restricted from owning a gun by law, such as a minor or an illegal immigrant.

Constitutional carry, also known as open or unlicensed carry, is already law in several states, including West Virginia, Vermont and Alaska.

Supporters of constitutional carry argue that more guns do not translate to more violence, because criminals will carry a gun regardless of whether they have a permit to do so. Why should law-abiding citizens have to jump through numerous legal hoops in order to protect themselves, especially when they already have the constitutional right to bear arms?

Stickland introduced the bill at the urging of his constituents and because he believes, “There is certainly evil in this world…But what we see time and time again, an armed society is a safe society,” according to KHOU.

Scientific studies, including from Harvard and the Crime Prevention Research Center, support that more gun ownership actually means less violence.

However, critic of the bill Ed Scruggs, the vice chair of the Board for Texas Gun Sense, called the bill “an extremist view” that “trashes every safety regulation in the state.” He also said, “You can’t compare” states that already have constitutional carry laws with Texas, according to KHOU.