Open Carry Passes Texas House

On Monday, April 20, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 910, commonly referred to as "open carry." The vote was 101-42.

The House legislation now heads to the Senate for committee consideration. Simply put, the legislation would allow for holders of a handgun license to carry a handgun. The primary change is in the terminology which removes the word "concealed" from Government Code Chapter 411, Subchapter H, Section 411.172, entitled "Eligibility," and from various other code sections where the term is located.

HB 910, or the "open carry" law, removes "concealed" from hand gun license eligibility and everywhere it is used in various other code sections.

Texas Penal Code §46.02, "Unlawful Carrying Weapons," along with other statutes, would also be amended, including to allow a person to carry a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft owned by that person if the person is licensed to carry the weapon and the weapon is holstered in a shoulder or belt holster. Specifically:

Section 46.02(a-1), Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:

(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person ’s control at any time in which:

(1) the handgun is in plain view, unless the person is licensed to carry a handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and the handgun is carried in a shoulder or belt holster; or ...

The House did not approve various amendments that were offered, including an amendment that would allow Texas' four largest cities to opt out of the open carry legislation. 

The companion bill, Senate Bill 17, passed the Texas Senate in March by a 20-11 vote along party lines. Each bill will now proceed to the other chamber for reconciliation by the respective committees before final passage. Governor Greg Abbot has stated that he would sign the bill.

Currently, over 840,000, or approximately 5% of Texans over 21, have a concealed handgun license.

It's only a matter of time now before "open carry" becomes law.