Keep the concealed-carry license — and keep Texans safe

Like all parents, my biggest concern is keeping my children safe. I will do anything I can to protect them. That’s why I’m speaking out against two dangerous bills currently making their way through the Texas Legislature. These bills undermine the very core of Texas’ long and proud history of responsible gun ownership by dismantling our license-to-carry system.

That system is a collective point of pride for us Texans — and it is essential in keeping us safe. We all know that with rights come responsibilities, and the license requirement exemplifies this philosophy by proving that common-sense gun laws do indeed go hand in hand with protecting the Second Amendment.

As it stands, our system ensures individuals are prepared to responsibly carry loaded handguns in public. Permit recipients must generally be at least 21 years of age, lack recent convictions for certain violent crimes and complete safety training, including live-fire training.

But now, House Bills 375 and 1911 are threatening to undo this fundamental public safety law. If passed and enacted, they would dismantle our license-to-carry system by abolishing the requirement that individuals must first obtain a permit to carry a loaded handgun in public. Consequently, HB 375 and HB 1911 would allow a whole host of untrained people and dangerous individuals who pose a threat to public safety to carry loaded handguns in public.

Earlier in the session, the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee held a marathon session lasting until 9 p.m. to debate these bills despite the widespread calls to keep the license-to-carry system in place.

An overwhelming majority of Texas voters support the requirement for a permit to carry a loaded handgun in public. This issue shouldn’t even be up for debate.

A new poll conducted by SurveyUSA for Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund revealed that a whopping 91 percent of Texans — including 90 percent of gun owners, 94 percent of current permit holders, 96 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats — support the state’s current license requirement for carrying a handgun in public.

So why are some of our elected officials trying to dismantle this system? We vote our legislators into office to protect our interests and our families. Yet in this instance it’s abundantly clear that some of our lawmakers would rather listen to gun rights extremists than the vast majority of their constituents.

There’s no question that the license-to-carry system helps keep Texans safe and abolishing it would undeniably put our families and communities at risk. Time is running out. We must continue to speak out against these dangerous measures and fight to keep Texas safe for all of us.

Lisa Epstein

Volunteer, Moms Demand Action