WASHINGTON — On Sunday night, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that would allow residents to carry handguns in public for up to a week after a state or natural disaster declaration. The State Senate approved the bill, HB 1177, by a narrow vote of 16-15, with three Republicans joining all Democrats to vote against it. It now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for final passage.
Under current Texas law, a “license to carry,” or LTC, is required to carry a handgun either for concealed or open carry, though no such permit is required for long guns such as an AR-15.
The bill’s intent is to allow people to evacuate with their handgun in the event of a natural disaster by permitting them to carry handguns openly or concealed without an LTC, as long as they are legally allowed to own a firearm
A summary of the bill from the nonpartisan House Research Organization explains that the bill would give Texans “the ability to take certain firearms with them in a mandatory evacuation without fear of breaking the law or being forced to leave handguns behind in vehicles or homes, where they could be at risk from looters.”