To help lessen the financial burden of maintaining a license to carry, the State of Texas has recently passed a bill that will significantly reduce the license fee for both those renewing their license and those obtaining a new one. Texas Senate Bill 16 was authored by two Texas senators Joan Huffman and Robert Nichols.
How Will SB 16 Help Those Who Wish to Exercise Their Right to Carry?
For those obtaining a new license, the fee will be reduced from $140 to $40. Those who already have their license and are seeking renewal will see a $30 reduction with the fee dropping from $70 to $40. In addition to the decrease in license fees for average citizens, it completely waives the license fees for police officers and those who are part of the Texas military forces.
The bill was lauded by the legislative arm of the NRA who was quoted as saying, “No hard working, law-abiding Texan should be priced out of the ability to exercise his or her right to self-defense.” Before the bill was passed, Texas had one of the highest license fees for a permit to carry in the United States. The new law not only drops Texas down from having the highest fees but it now makes it one of the lowest license to carry fees in the nation.
With the reduction in fees, it is hoped that those who used to go out of state to obtain licenses that would be valid back in Texas to take advantage of cheaper rates will now get their licenses in the state adding money to the state coffers to offset any reduction in revenue. Additionally, the lower fees may stimulate those who wished to exercise their second amendment right to carry but could not afford the license fees in the past to apply for new licenses, thus adding revenue for the state for future years.
Texas Second Amendment Rights are an Important Agenda for the Current Texas Administration
Lt. Governor Patrick said the legislation was one of the top priorities in 2017 to make lawful carry more affordable for the law abiding citizens of the Lone Star State who have the right to exercise their second amendment rights. The bill had an extreme amount of support in both the Texas Senate and the House with a total of 5 authors, 18 co-authors, and 36 sponsors.
When signing the bill, Governor Abbott stated, “Texas is known for its strong Second Amendment rights laws, and I’m proud to further strengthen those rights today.” Governor Abbott has long been a supporter of second amendment rights in the state. In 2015 he signed another bill into Texas law that authorized those who were licensed to carry, to be able to carry a holstered handgun openly.
The open carry holster law that became effective January 2016 allows those with concealed carry permits to openly carry their weapons as long as they are properly holstered and secured so that they do not fall from the holster or are easily unholstered by anyone other than the carrier.
The open carry law is just part of a handful of Texas laws enacted in recent years to protect law abiding citizens rights to bear arms and exercise their 2nd amendment rights. One of these bills enabled firefighters, and emergency first responders the right to carry while on the job in an effort to ensure their right to self-defense.
These recent laws that have passed with little resistance in the Texas State legislature have helped further the Governor’s agenda to ensure all Texans are able to exercise their rights under the Constitution. While the governor had originally called for an end to fees for a license to carry, the new fee reduction that came into effect September 1st is considered an important victory in the State of Texas to reinforce the right to carry laws.
The excitement of the new law was reiterated in the statement from Lt. Governor Patrick when he stated, “SB 16 will make lawful carry more affordable for law-abiding citizens across the state. No Texan should be deprived of their right to self-protection because of onerous licensing fees imposed by the state.”
~ American Gun News