KEY POINTS

  • The legislation also removes the training requirement to possess a firearm in Texas
  • Government statistics peg the total number of gun-toting citizens of Texas at 1.6 million
  • Texas already allows citizens to carry rifles openly without licenses

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has approved into law a measure that allows individuals who are 21 years and older to carry guns in public places in the state without a permit. With this, Texas joins states such as Tennessee, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Iowa that have approved similar legislation allowing some form of permitless carry this year.

Set to take effect on Sept. 1, House Bill 1927 also removes the training requirement to possess a firearm in Texas, a move that is hailed by gun advocates but lacks support from some opposing groups and law enforcement authorities.

Once the law takes effect, Texas becomes the largest state that allows handgun owners to carry their weapons in public without a permit. Currently, the state law allows residents 21 and older to carry handguns after completing a background check, training, and obtaining a license to carry the weapon.

Texas already allows citizens to bring their rifles in public without licenses.

Republican supporters of the legislation, who call it "constitutional carry," say that the permitless carry bill removes the "artificial barrier" to residents’ right to carry guns that will improve their protection from crimes in public places, CNN reported.

But according to opposing groups, owning a handgun will not prevent violence from happening in public places.

"From chiefs to sheriffs to police labor, we do not support permit-less, open carry measures," Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo was earlier quoted as saying by CNBC.

Acevedo, who used to be the former Houston Police chief stressed at the time that the measure "was not needed" and added that "most responsible gun owners" do not support permit-less, open carry as well.

Government Statistics peg the total number of gun-toting citizens of Texas at 1.6 million.

The newly-approved "constitutional carry" upholds the state and federal law of prohibiting certain individuals from possessing or carrying firearms, including those with felony convictions, and persons deemed as "mentally incompetent."

The other states that allow constitutional carry include Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont, among others, gun owners association website, US Concealed Carry noted.

This is a representative image of a handgun. Handgun Photo: Reuters