Opinion: Texas’ New Gun Ownership Bill Should Not Be In Effect


House Bill 1927, the bill that aims to protect the “God given rights of Texans” to carry guns and to “preserve freedom,” will go into effect on September 1, 2021. Currently, to carry a handgun, a license is needed, and to obtain one, people need 4-6 hours of training, fingerprinting, an accuracy test and background check. Restrictions on felons and abusers of family violence would not change, and handguns will still not be allowed in ‘sensitive’ places (schools, courthouses, etc). Now, anyone can carry a handgun without a permit.

Representative Matt Schefer, who authored the bill, claimed that people cause gun violence, not guns themselves. He asserts that the risk from guns is equitable to driving and all his bill does is uphold the second Amendment, not contribute to violence. However, driver’s licenses exist for the same reasons that gun permits do: the aim is to reduce risk and make sure that everyone who drives (or carries a gun) knows how to safely and correctly. Unless Schaefer wants to ban driver’s licenses for Texans, this argument makes no sense. He also stated that vulnerable populations, such as a “woman in that dark parking lot” would feel safer if they were allowed to carry a gun for self-defense. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center found that Americans, especially women, actually feel less safe when members of their community acquire guns, defeating Schaefer’s purpose. 

Gun control laws (the opposite of HB 1927) have also reduced rates of crime. Michael Siegel of Boston University analyzed national data from 1991 to 2016 and found that permits for handguns reduced homicide rates in both rural and urban areas. The states that didn’t require universal background check laws had homicide rates up to 58% higher than states with background checks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also backed up Siegel’s conclusion. Massachusetts, which requires registration and testing before obtaining a compulsory permit, has one of the nation’s lowest violence rates: 3.3 deaths per 100 people, versus 21 deaths per 100 people in the worst states for gun violence (Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana).  

Finally, the majority of Texas voters do not support this bill.  This opinion is regardless of political party, as Democrats, Republicans, law enforcement, and civilians all agree. A poll in May 2021 by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas found that 59% of respondents, who were Texan, think unlicensed carry laws (like HB 1927) should not go into effect. 

Governor Abbott and Texas Republicans vowed to take action after the Midland and El Paso shootings in 2019, but passed this law instead, a complete 180 degrees from their promises. Combined with public opinion and past positive effects of requiring licenses to carry handguns, it is clear that this bill shouldn’t be implemented on September 1st, let alone being passed in the first place.