HB 1927 Final Version: What does it say?
Who can carry:
Assuming Gov. Abbott signs HB 1927, then, beginning September 1, those age 21+ who can legally possess a firearm will be able to carry a handgun – concealed, or openly in a holster – in non-prohibited public places.
- Exception: those who have been convicted of certain misdemeanors in the previous five years will not be able to carry handguns outside of their property or vehicle. These misdemeanors include assault causing bodily injury; deadly conduct; terroristic threat; and disorderly conduct with a firearm. (See Section 22 of the Conference Committee Report.)
- Note: We opposed this exception because it creates a class of people who cannot carry handguns even though they can legally possess firearms – and because several of these misdemeanors are defined so loosely that it is easy to be convicted even when not acting wrongly.
- See this handout for a listing of people prohibited by Federal and Texas law from possessing a firearm.
Prohibited places include the following:
- Schools (including both K-12 and colleges; school activities; school buses)
- Polling places
- Courts or offices utilized by the court
- Airports past security
- Bars (establishments that make 51% or more of their income from sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption)
- Sporting events (high school, college, or professional)
- Correctional facilities
- Civil commitment facilities
- Nursing homes
- Mental hospitals
- Amusement parks (75+ acres, in large counties, and open at least 120 days a year)
- Governmental open meetings if notice is provided
No “Savings Clause” included:
- Carry onto prohibited places can result in a Class A misdemeanor or 3rd-degree felony.
- The House version had an exception to the penalty (“Savings Clause”): it said that if you carried into one of the above prohibited places but left as soon as you were given personal notice, you could not be penalized.
- Unfortunately, the Senate insisted on stripping out the Savings Clause (we supported the Savings Clause).
- The final language does include a defense to prosecution if you carry into one of the above prohibited places when no signage was posted informing you that carry was prohibited.
Other prohibited permitless handgun carry:
- Carry while intoxicated will be prohibited except on your property, in your vehicle, or on / in another’s property or vehicle with their consent.
- Campus carry is still prohibited for permitless carry (only those with an LTC carrying concealed can carry handguns on campuses, and even then, with significant restrictions).
- Handgun carry on Lower Colorado River Authority property is protected for LTC holders but not for permitless carry.
- Private businesses can prohibit unlicensed carry by providing notice under Penal Code Chapter 30.05. This notice can be a specifically worded sign, somewhat similar to a 30.06 or 30.07 sign, or it can be another sign or communication that simply gives notice that entry with a handgun is forbidden. The maximum penalty is identical to the penalty for carrying past a 30.06 or 30.07 sign: maximum class C misdemeanor and $200 fine if you leave as soon as you’re told to leave.
- Federal property: In general, Federal law prohibits carry on Federal property, and state law does not affect Federal property.
Protected permitless handgun carry:
- Foster parents who can legally possess firearms will be able to carry handguns while transporting foster children in a vehicle.
HB 1927 increases penalties for illegal possession of firearms by the following classes of people. We did not oppose raising the penalty for those with a violent felony conviction or those who have committed a Class A misdemeanor of family violence.
Note: We opposed increasing penalties for mere passive possession of a firearm by all non-violent felons, because we believe this unjustly includes some who committed a completely nonviolent crime decades earlier.
|Class of people||Current penalty for possessing a firearm||Penalty under HB 1927|
|Those with a felony conviction (exception: allowed to possess firearms inside their homes beginning five years after final release from community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision)||3rd degree felony||2nd degree felony, minimum 5-year sentence|
|Those with a Class A misdemeanor for family violence||Class A misdemeanor||3rd-degree felony|
|Those subject to one of the following orders, after notice and before expiration of the order: family violence protective order, magistration’s order for emergency protection, marriage dissolution suit protective order, family violence protective order from another state||Class A misdemeanor||3rd-degree felony|
Various Protections and Procedures:
- Expungement: The House version provided for expungement of records by those who had previously been convicted of unlawful carry of a handgun. The Senate modified the language but kept the expungement for anyone who is convicted of an offense committed before September 1, 2021 of unlawful carry of a handgun under Penal Code 46.02(a).
- Dutton Amendment: The House version included the “Dutton amendment,” which stated explicitly that law enforcement could not detain someone simply because the individual was carrying a firearm. The final version does not include that. However, it does not specify that law enforcement can detain someone simply for carrying a firearm. Although we supported the Dutton amendment, we believe that removing it will not have a negative effect. Current case law and procedures require reasonable suspicion to detain an individual – something more than just carrying a firearm. The Dutton amendment would have simply codified this controlling case law.
- Disarm by peace officer: HB 1927 re-states a provision allowing law enforcement to disarm an individual if necessary for safety during the lawful discharge of the officer’s duties. The same provision exists in current law for LTC holders. This is not a new provision.
- Firearm Safety Class: DPS is instructed to create and put on its website a free course on firearms safety and handling.
See the Conference Committee Report with the final language. See page 33 of the report for a side-by-side analaysis of the House & Senate versions and the final version.
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September 1, 2021