Talking Points Booklet: Constitutional Carry
Stop requiring a license for lawful gun owners to carry a handgun
In general, Texas Penal Code 46.02 prohibits handgun carry outside of one’s property, living quarters, or vehicle. The main exception is for those who have a license (LTC) to carry a handgun in public. LTC holders may carry openly (visible, in a shoulder or belt holster) or concealed. To be eligible for an LTC, one must be 21 (or 18-20 and military), eligible to purchase a firearm under state and federal law, and meet many other requirements listed in Texas Government Code 411.172.
Texas must recognize the right to carry a handgun without a license. Anyone 18 years or older who can legally possess a handgun should be able to carry it, open or concealed, without asking for permission. Constitutional Carry legislation would still maintain the LTC system as an option for those who would like an LTC (for gun purchase and reciprocity), and it would still prohibit handgun carry by people who are prohibited from owning firearms.
How We Talk About This
- Texans shouldn’t have to ask the state for permission to exercise their right to carry a handgun.
- Bans on carrying handguns were enacted in the Southern states during Reconstruction as a racist measure. But these bans were unequally enforced and were intended to keep newly freed black people from carrying guns. The elitist mindset behind this law is intolerable, and it’s time to get rid of this Jim Crow-era law and move closer to “liberty and justice for all” by allowing handgun carry for all honest citizens. (See Link #1.)
- The majority of states don’t require a license to carry a handgun in some form (see map).
- Requiring a license hurts those who are poor, busy, rural, etc. It also keeps potential victims from being able to defend themselves right away. But it does nothing to stop criminals because they are already determined to break the law.
- No criminal has ever said, “I want to go commit assault and murder – but I have to wait for my license to carry to come in.” But every day, honest Texans who want to carry a gun simply to come home safe at night are forced to wait for their permit so they can carry legally.
- Violent crime rates generally go down within the five years after a state passes Constitutional Carry. (See Link #2.)
- Vermont has never required a license to carry, and it is consistently ranked as one of the safest states. In 2019, four out of the top five safest states were Constitutional Carry states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Idaho). (See Link #3.)
- Repealing the training requirement does not endanger public safety. States that abandoned training requirements have found that people generally seek more training voluntarily, and public safety stays the same or gets better. (See Link #4.)
- The Dark Secret of Jim Crow and the Racist Roots of Gun Control by David Kopel, March 2011, in America’s 1st Freedom (http://davekopel.org/2A/Mags/dark-secret-of-jim-crow.html). See also The Racist Roots of Gun Control by Clayton Kramer, Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, Winter 1995 (https://njiat.com/JunePDFs/The%20Racist%20Roots%20of%20Gun%20Control.pdf), The Racist Origins of US Gun Control by Steve Ekwall (https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/media/29093/the-racist-origins-of-us-gun-control.pdf), and “The Discriminatory History of Gun Control” by David Babat, 2009, Senior Honors Projects, Paper 140 (http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/srhonorsprog/140).
- John Lott’s PowerPoint presentation for Kentucky (from 2019, before Oklahoma and Kentucky passed Constitutional Carry): https://crimeresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Kentuck-Constitutional-Carry-1.pptx
- US News safest states in 2019: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/crime-and-corrections/public-safety
- People voluntarily get training when it’s not required: https://crimeresearch.org/2016/12/concealed-carry-permit-holders-getting-training-even-isnt-required/ (See also “More Guns, Less Crime” by John Lott, pages 177-181, 226-227, 244-248.)
Bills – Constitutional Carry
Each of these four bills recognizes the right of those who can legally possess firearms to carry handguns, open or concealed, without a permit:
- SUPPORT: HB 1238 by Rep. Biedermann
- SUPPORT: HB 1927 by Rep. Schaefer
- SUPPORT: HB 2900 by Rep. Hefner
- SUPPORT: SB 540 by Sen. Springer
These two bills, if both passed, would achieve the same goal:
- HB 821 by Rep. White (repeals extraneous License to Carry eligibility requirements)
- HB 1587 by Rep. White (allows those who are eligible to apply for an LTC to carry without a permit)
Bills – Constitutional Carry-related
- SUPPORT: SJR 24 by Sen. Hall proposes to amend the TX Constitution so that the Legislature cannot require a citizen of this state to obtain a license or permit to wear arms.
- SUPPORT: HB 1094 by Rep. Oliverson would allow anyone over 18 who can legally possess a firearm and who is protected by a protective order or emergency restraining order to carry a handgun, open or concealed, without a license. It would also exempt such people from “gun-free” zones listed in Texas Penal Code 46.03 and 46.035.
See our updated bill list at txgoa.us/87r.