Texas is one of only six states that currently bans openly carrying handguns in public — New York, California, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina, as well as the District of Columbia.
The bill, HB910, was expected to pass sooner, but was halted on a technicality by house democrats. The legislation has been opposed by many senior Texas police officers who are worried that it will require officers to need more training and resources. They also stated that it could be dangerous to officers who are trying to distinguish criminals from bystanders in active shooter situations.
One large issue that many had with the bill was the difficulty presented to shop owners who want to prohibit weapons from their establishments. The law now calls for signs to be in both English and Spanish, with letters at least one inch tall, meaning they would take up a large portion of space in a small storefront.
“Even more concerning is our lawmakers passed HB910 [the act] without the signage amendment, making a mockery of our private property rights and now our businesses will be forced to post two large and burdensome signs to keep concealed handgun license holders from carrying openly onto their premises,” Angela Turner of the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America stated on Friday.
After receiving final approval from legislators, the bill will need to be signed by governor Greg Abbott, a Republican who has previously stated that he will approve any legislation that expands gun rights, the Guardian reported.