These NRA-backed proposals would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a state-issued License To Carry (LTC). The existing LTC law would not be repealed. Criminals who are prohibited from possessing firearms (i.e., felons, fugitives from justice, individuals committed by the courts for mental illness, domestic abusers) would still be barred from carrying guns. It would not prevent the enforcement of any laws broken by criminals who misuse firearms.
Please also contact your State Senators and urge them to co-sponsor SB 540.
→ Texas’ Current Gun Laws: Not a Significant Policy Leap
Texas currently allows lawfully-possessed long guns to be carried openly without a state-issued license, and handguns concealed in a motor vehicle, boat or recreational vehicle without a LTC. Law-abiding citizens can also carry handguns without a license on their own premises or on premises under their control.
→ Not Unprecedented: 18 Other States Have Similar Laws
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia & Wyoming currently allow law-abiding individuals to carry a handgun without a government-issued permit.
→ Crime Rates: The Arizona Experience
The state of Arizona is the most populated state with the longest track record on permitless carry. From 2010-2015, the years immediately preceding and following their 2011 law, the murder rate in the state dropped 29.7% and the robbery rate fell 14.2%. [Note: Experts caution that a direct, causal relationship does not exist between the state’s gun laws and crime rates.]
→ Residents Still Seeking Licenses in Permitless Carry States
Arizona’s experience here is instructive as well. In 2011, according to the U.S General Accountability Office, there were approximately 163,000 active carry permits in the state, which had a population of 4.5 million at the time (3.6% of the adult population licensed.) According to Arizona DPS, as of February 2021, there are 388,716 active carry permits in the state, which had a population in 2020 of 7.279 million (5.3% of the adult population licensed). In addition to continuing to voluntarily seek out training, honest citizens recognize the benefits of acquiring and maintaining a carry license – namely, reciprocity with other states when traveling and exemption from background check requirements when purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer.