Texas bill could make getting a concealed carry license free

Shaun Rabb reports.

The National Rifle Association is applauding a bill pre-filed in Texas that would reduce the cost of obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun.

There's a move by lawmakers to go beyond just reducing the fees to carry a weapon. They feel like there should be no fees at all.

Current state law requires a five-hour class that costs between $75-100, a $140 license fee to the state and a $10 fingerprint free. And once people get a license, there is a $70 renewal fee every five years. Texas has what may be the most expensive fees in the nation.

But some lawmakers in the legislature don't think citizens should have to pay for their constitutional right to carry.

While Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick hasn't weighed in on the measure, he said he fully supports lowering the fees for a license to carry in Texas.

Kimberly Black handles her business with a glock at DFW Gun Range, where license to carry classes are underway.

As a licensed instructor herself, Black feels the more than $200 in fees keep some people from getting a license

“I don’t think it should be something where they are prohibited because of the fact they can't afford to pay for it,” she explained.

Bedford Republican State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, who also authored the open carry measure that is now law in Texas, is leading the charge for constitutional carry without having to pay license fees.

“This would make it optional. We do not believe that citizens in Texas should have to pay for the right to defend themselves,” Stickland said.

Several states have already passed laws where licenses to carry are no longer necessary. The idea of constitutional carry is framed in the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms. Stickland says gun owners should receive training and background checks but shouldn’t be required to obtain a license.   

“So we're hoping that Texas becomes the eleventh state to pass constitutional carry,” Stickland said. “There are a number of other states where it’s introduced right now. It really has become the norm. And frankly, for the history of our country, it was the norm.”

In the last session, Stickland also proposed constitutional carry but did not pass. But it could be on target for a different outcome in the next legislative session in January.


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