A “Constitutional Carry” bill prefiled for the 2019 legislative session would make it legal for Texans to carry a concealed firearm without a license, and foster an environment hostile to federal gun control.
Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) prefiled House Bill 357 (HB357) on Nov. 14. If passed into law, it would end Texas’concealed carry licensing requirements and remove the need for government permission to carry a concealed firearm in the state. The new law reads in part:
Except as otherwise provided by this chapter or other law, a person 21 years of age or older who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under Section 46.04 or other law is not prohibited from carrying:
(1) a concealed handgun; or
(2) a partially or wholly visible handgun in a holster.
The legislation also provides legal protection from unreasonable police interference for those carrying a concealed weapon.
“A peace officer may not disarm or detain a person … solely because the person is carrying a handgun.”
Under HB357, Texas residents would still be able to obtain a license so they can carry in states that have concealed-carry reciprocity with the Lone Star State.
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions such as passing HB357 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” ShallNot.org campaign lead Scott Landreth said.
HB357 will be officially introduced when the 2019 regular session begins on Jan. 8. It will receive a committee assignment at that time.