AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bill that allows Texans over the age of 21 to carry a firearm without a license or training was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday.
HB 1927, commonly referred to as the “permitless carry bill,” will take effect Sept. 1 of this year.
Under the bill, those with a misdemeanor or felony conviction for unlawfully carrying a firearm would have those convictions expunged from their record. Someone convicted for felony unlawful carrying of a weapon would be able to own a gun again once their conviction is expunged as well.
The Texas House and Senate agreed upon a version of the bill in late May that allows peace officers to disarm a person any time they believe it is necessary for safety reasons.
“Ultimately, this bill restores a right to Texans that, to my knowledge, has not existed prior to 1871,” state Rep. Matt Schaefer, a Tyler Republican and one of the bill’s authors, said of the legislation in late May.
However, those against the bill say it’s a step back for public safety, especially after the El Paso Walmart mass shooting in August 2019 that claimed the lives of 23 people.
State Rep. Joe Moody, a Democrat who represents the El Paso community, previously said state leaders did not keep their promises to Texans.
A spokesperson for Abbott previously addressed those concerns, saying the governor’s office did, in fact, take action after the shooting and directed state law enforcement to enhance anti-mass violence measures through eight executive orders.