Texas Senate Approves Post-Disaster Open Carry Bill
The Texas Senate Sunday night approved a House bill that would allow Texans to openly carry their handguns for up to a week after a natural disaster is declared.
House Bill 1177 is intended to help citizens protect themselves and their property in the wake of destructive storms or other catastrophic disasters. KTRK reports that it was approved by a vote of 16 to 15, and now heads to Governor Greg Abbott's desk.
The Dallas Morning News reports that attempts were made to amend the bill and only allow a 48-hour carry window, but the original language was restored late last week.
Proponents argue that the legislation is necessary to allow Texans to defend from looters in the days after a destructive storm. Opponents fear the policy would create further dangers for law enforcement and emergency responders.
The current state legislative session ends tonight. The Texas Tribune reports that lawmakers passed a $250.7 billion two-year budget Sunday.