A bill allowing for the emergency carry of firearms during an emergency has passed the Texas House of Representatives.
Texans are one step closer to being legally allowed to carry a firearm without a license during a state of disaster.
The current legislative session saw the advancement of HB 1177 by a 102-29 vote, and the measure will now move to the Texas Senate. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont).
Texas law requires a License to Carry, or LTC, for all concealed carry and open carry weapons in the state. HB 1177 would allow those complying with a mandatory evacuation (a somewhat common occurrence on the Gulf Coast during hurricane season) the right to carry a firearm, regardless of whether or not they were a current handgun license holder.
If the new state law gets signed, it would cover 168 hours from when the evacuation was first ordered, and only apply to a person who can otherwise lawfully possess a gun.
Florida adopted a similar emergency carry bill. Gun owners who had to evacuate in that state can legally carry without licenses since 2015.
A constitutional carry bill in the state of Texas has been stalled indefinitely after some controversy involving a gun rights activist and several state legislators.
"Texans should be able to protect themselves and their loved ones, and to legally transport their lawfully-owned handguns if they are evacuating by means other than their personal vehicles or their own watercraft during a declared disaster," said the NRA in a statement about the house bill. "They should not be denied the ability to take certain firearms with them for fear of breaking the law and be forced to leave them behind for potential looters."