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Hours after San Antonio airport shooting, lawmakers OK bill letting Texans carry guns without permit 

click to enlarge A man open carries a firearm in a fast food restaurant. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / DRUNKDRIVER
  • Wikimedia Commons / DrunkDriver
  • A man open carries a firearm in a fast food restaurant.
Hours after a park police officer took down an active shooter at San Antonio International Airport, the Texas House on Thursday evening advanced a new bill that would let people carry handguns without a permit.

The House voted 84-56 to grant initial approval to Republican-backed House Bill 1927, which would eliminate the requirement for Texans to get a license to carry handguns, so long as they're not prohibited from owning one under state or federal law.

Under current Texas law, residents must be licensed to carry handguns, whether or not they're concealed.

Law enforcement officers, firearms instructors, faith leaders and veterans voiced opposition to the bill, according to the Texas Tribune. Even so, seven Democrats, including Leo Pacheco of San Antonio, crossed the aisle to vote in favor of it.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Joe Moody, D-El Paso, tried to add an amendment that would effectively shut down the proposal, the Tribune reports. He said the 2019 mass shooting in his hometown that killed 23 people should serve as a wakeup call about the danger of unregulated firearms.

“After those shootings ... there were roundtable discussions and stakeholder meetings and a lot of promises — and I was hopeful, members, even knowing the political realities, I was hopeful,” Moody said, according to the Tribune. “Members, I’m so tired of doing nothing. … When are we going to do something?”

The bill faces another approval vote in the House before it heads to the Senate, where its fate is unclear. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the body, previously expressed concerns about lifting the permit requirement for handguns, according to the Tribune.

The same day as the vote, a park police officer in San Antonio killed a man packing large amounts of ammo who opened fire from a highway ramp and then at the airport, KSAT reports.

Counting an overnight shooting at a FedEx facility in Indiana that killed eight people, the U.S. has experienced 45 mass shootings in the past month, according to a CNN tally.

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January 12, 2022

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