WACO, Texas (KWTX) – There are more than 600 laws going into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, including one that changes what it takes to carry a gun.
House Bill 1927 passed earlier this year, and it allows people to carry a gun without a permit or training.
There are some exceptions to the law—it doesn’t apply to anyone who is not legally allowed to possess a weapon.
For example, that applies to people who can’t purchase a gun under federal law. Emily Taylor, an independent program attorney for Texas Law Shield, said it also applies to people under an active protective order.
Additionally, Taylor said it also does not apply to anyone who has been convicted in the last five years of assault causing bodily injury, terroristic threats of deadly conduct or of disorderly conduct, display a firearm for disorderly conduct and discharge of a firearm.
As long as those charges don’t apply, and a person is at least 21-years-old, permitless carry is legal.
Despite the fact that a permit isn’t required anymore, the process isn’t going away, and Taylor said it actually gives gun owners some additional rights and protections.
“License holders do get a couple extra benefits,” Taylor said. “We get to carry in some more places than constitutional carriers do, and actually we get some more warning when we carry in a place that we weren’t supposed to.”
Taylor said the permit process is also a very educational process, and teaches about the places people aren’t legally allowed to carry weapons. That includes bars, schools, professional sporting events, courthouses, polling places, just to name a few.
Regardless of whether a person has a permit or not, a business can prohibit weapons on the property. Taylor said people carrying a gun should look for signs, including something as simple as a picture of a gun with a line through it.
Taylor adds anyone planning to carry a gun should know where it’s legal to carry.
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” Taylor said. “I think that the challenge we’re going to see is essentially constitutional carriers walking into a place that the law says they absolutely cannot carry, they don’t realize it because they haven’t been through a class but sure enough they are criminally liable for that.”
Taylor said if people plan to carry a gun, it’s very important to be trained and to practice, even though it’s not required by law.
“Make sure that you know where you can put that round, because there are dollar signs and lawyers attached to every bullet you fire.”
Terry Flick, owner of the Republic Gun Club, supports the bill, and thinks it’s a good thing, but urges people to get experience.
“Coming out to the range, getting your training, practicing a lot, it builds that muscle memory right so you understand what to do and how to do it in a safe and effective manner,” Flick said.
The Republic Gun Club is opening in a few weeks in Woodway, and it includes an indoor 100 yard firing range. Flick said over the last year, there has been an increase in the number of new gun owners.
“I think that anytime anything happens in the news about guns that people become more interested,” Flick said. “Especially if barriers have been reduced, so they can get a gun and carry a gun.”
Flick said there are people who have been on the waitlist to be members for the club since last October. The club will also have a member lounge, patio, an on-site gun smith and Flick said they plan to offer a variety of safety classes.
Written by Hannah Hall