Gun rights activists lined up at a press conference on Thursday to voice support for legislation that would allow Texans to openly carry handguns without a license.
That practice, which proponents call "constitutional carry," is allowed to varying degrees in 10 states. It is one of several gun rights issues lawmakers may address this session. House Bill 195 by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, would bring constitutional carry to Texas.
“If you don’t need the government’s permission to practice your First Amendment rights, why should you need the government’s permission to practice your Second Amendment rights?” said National Association for Gun Rights President Dudley Brown.
It is embarrassing for Texas not to have constitutional carry, Stickland said in a prepared statement read by his chief of staff (the lawmaker could not attend the press conference because he was on the House floor).
Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, called on his colleagues in the Senate to help pass Stickland's proposal.
Asked about an incident at the Capitol on Tuesday in which a lawmaker escorted out of his office supporters of Stickland's proposal, Huffines said he did not know the specifics. State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, told The Texas Tribune that he asked the advocates to leave his office after they grew increasingly confrontational.
“I don’t know exactly what happened with some of those actions, but the best approach is a civil, respectful, peaceful discourse,” Huffines said.
--by Bobby Blanchard with The Texas Tribune