Texas Senate GOP does not have enough votes to pass permitless carry: Seliger considering legislation

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced on Monday that there are currently not enough votes in the Texas Senate to pass legislation that would allow most Texans to carry a handgun in public without a permit.

“If we have the votes to pass a permitless carry bill off the Senate floor, I will move it. At this point we don’t have the votes on the floor to pass it,” said Patrick in a statement. “I plan to meet with law enforcement who oppose permitless carry and with the NRA and GOA who support it to see if we can find a path that a majority of senators will vote to pass.”

In 2017, Patrick made similar comments about the uncertainty of support for the legislation, adding “law enforcement does not like the idea of anyone being able to walk down the street with a gun and they don’t know if they have a permit or not.” 

Last week, the Texas House passed House Bill (HB) 1927, a “constitutional carry” bill that would allow individuals over 21 years old who can legally possess a handgun to carry in public without having to go through Texas’ License to Carry (LTC) program.

Constitutional carry is growing in popularity across the country in the past decade, with 20 other states enacting some form of the legislation.

Such legislation has been introduced in the Texas legislature several times in the past, but 2021 this is the first year that any of the bills have been approved by one of the chambers.

The policy enjoys support largely from pro-Second Amendment advocates and a growing number of Republicans, but some Texas Democrats — such as Reps. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) and Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) who signed onto HB 1927 as joint authors. The bill passed with a final tally of 87 members voting for the legislation and 58 voting against.

In order for HB 1927 to become law, it would require support from a five-ninths majority — or 18 out of the 31 members —  in order to be considered on the Senate floor.

With 18 Republicans and 13 Democrats, the measure would need the full backing of the Senate GOP or the support of some Democrats.

Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) reportedly indicated that he was still considering his support or opposition to the legislation.

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