AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas legislative session is just weeks away, and already lawmakers are making the gun debate a priority.
• One bill would make a handgun license optional for gun owners
• Other lawmakers have filed bills focused on gun safety
One Republican lawmaker is looking to make it easier to carry a firearm. For the third session in row, Republican State Representative Jonathan Stickland filed a ‘constitutional carry’ bill that would make getting a handgun license optional for gun owners.
Currently to carry a handgun in Texas, people have to complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written test, and a proficiency demonstration. Some want to keep that a requirement.
“We can’t drive a car without a test, written test and driving with a DPS Trooper. So why we would expect to hold lethal violence in our hand without going through rudimentary, at least, screening process,” said Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense.
In the wake of the fatal shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, other lawmakers have already filed bills focused on gun safety. For example, one allows family members and police to seek court orders restricting gun access when people show quote "red flags." Another bill focuses on safe storage.
Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works, said he teaches about three license to carry classes a week. He supports ‘constitutional carry’ and believes people will keep taking license to carry classes should the bill pass.
“They’re going to want the education to know what they can and cannot do, the consequences of their actions of using the force and deadly force,” Cargill said.