Texas Lt. Gov. says open carry not a top Senate priority

By JIM VERTUNO
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - After pledging in his campaign to fight for open carry of handguns in Texas, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick now says it's not a priority and doesn't have the votes to pass.

The issue seemed to be gaining strong momentum for the 2015 session with support from Gov. Greg Abbott and top Republicans who swept into office in November.

But Patrick doused the hopes of gun rights advocates with his remarks Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Texas Tribune.

Patrick now says open carry "doesn't reach the level" of priority for the Republican-dominated Senate. Lawmakers have filed several bills on open carry, ranging from requiring a license to letting anyone carry a handgun in public.

Texas hasn't allowed open carry of handguns since immediately after the Civil War.

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