AUSTIN - Law enforcement organizations and police chiefs who don't always see eye-to-eye came together at the Capitol Tuesday to oppose a bill they say would put officers in danger and jeopardize public safety.
House Bill 1911 would let certain Texans carry handguns without a license. In order to carry without a license Texans would have to be at least 21-years-old, never convicted of a felony, not a member of a criminal street gang and while they wouldn't have to get a license, they would have to meet the eligibility requirements for a handgun license. Under the bill, those gun owners could carry their handguns concealed or in a holster.
The bill was voted out of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety and is now in the calendar's committee which schedules when bills will be added to the House of Representatives calendar and heard on the floor for a vote.
Several police chiefs and leaders of law enforcement organizations said the current process to obtain a Concealed Handgun License works to properly vet and train gun owners.
"Texans understand with rights come responsibilities" said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. "And those that have proven to be irresponsible do not deserve, do not have, under the law, the right to carry a gun. And quite frankly we in law enforcement cannot have our hands tied."
"A person walking around with a gun that we are not able to come in contact with and not able to vet the process of why he's carrying that gun, puts us in a position of not being ale to do our job," added Detective Frederick Frazier who is with the Dallas Police Department and also serves as 1st Vice President for the Dallas Police Association.
Representative Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) is on the calendars committee and joined the police officers in calling on the committee to kill the bill.
"When it comes to House Bill 1911, when it comes to Senate Bill 4, when the blue, the men and women, the police of this great state that keep us safe are telling you, explicitly, not implicitly explicitly, that this hampers the safety, the security, the well being of our citizens, then we should listen," Navarez said.
This is the second session officers have come out against so-called "constitutional carry" and officers say they will continue to fight legislation they see as a threat to public safety.
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