Texans will no longer need a permit to openly carry a firearm without a permit, according to a new law that went into effect on Sept. 1 that gave adults ages 21 and over the right to openly carry a firearm without a permit or training as long as they are not prohibited from doing so by state or federal law.
House Bill 1927, which is being touted as the “permitless carry” law, was passed by the legislature earlier this year and signed by the Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over the summer. The law eased up restrictions on Texans who were once required to attend training, pass an exam, and also pass a criminal background check in order to obtain a firearm permit.
Although the law has gained favor from gun rights advocates, it has also drawn skepticism from many, including police officers who fear it may make their jobs more difficult.
Plano Police Chief Ed Drain expressed concerns about how permitless carry will affect the future of policing in Texas and described concerns about untrained citizens not being properly qualified to handle a gun.
“We train our officers very well on how to handle those situations,” said Drain. “Most of our officers are going to assume that people are armed.”
Although the law, which rescinds restrictions that limit the Second Amendment, may put extra strain on law enforcement officers, Chief Drain said he does support Texans’ right to openly carry a firearm.
“As a peace officer, I’m entitled to carry a firearm on duty and off duty. Most peace officers, sheriffs, police officers, that I know, support the right of Texas residents to be able to do that as well,” Drain said. “But with that right comes responsibility.”
Despite the constitutional carry law, there are still places, such as federal buildings and schools, where citizens are not permitted to bring guns. The police will also continue to have the authority to take guns from those who they believe are in an unstable situation.
Chief Drain told Fox 4 that police officers have always had the ability to temporarily disarm someone in confrontational situations like a domestic violence. “You could potentially have a traffic crash where you have people out debating about who is at fault,” the Chief said. “We can temporarily disarm someone in those situations and if someone is not going to jail and they’re otherwise eligible to have the firearm, it would be returned to them after the situation can be worked out.”
Although gun-toting Texans will no longer be required to attend formal training, there will still be options available for those who would like to learn more about firearm safety and gun laws. The constitutional carry law makes Texas one of a handful of states to rescind restrictions on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.