Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas signed two bills this week that will allow residents of the Lone Star State to carry handguns without a permit and loosen restrictions on suppressors. Both laws take effect on Sept. 1.

House Bill 1927 eliminates the need for Texas residents to get a license to carry handguns if they are not forbidden from possessing a gun by state or federal law. The Texas Legislature’s official website, which records legislation’s progress, announced the signing. Abbott’s office has declared that the bill and other gun-related bills will be ceremonially signed at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 17.

After passing the state Senate by an 18-13 vote and the state House by an 84-56 vote in early May, the Republican signed permitless carry legislation on Wednesday, June 16. The law, known as “constitutional carry,” allows Texans over the age of 21 to carry their handguns if they are not prohibited from owning firearms due to criminal history.

According to the state Legislature’s website, the second bill exempts Texas-made suppressors, also known as silencers, from the National Firearms Act. The Act had required gun owners to register NFA items, such as suppressors and short-barreled rifles, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives before paying a $200 tax. The bill passed the House by a vote of 95-51 in early May and the Senate by a vote of 22-9.

Before passing the bill, the Senate included several adjustments to address concerns raised by law enforcement groups who opposed permitless carry, fearing that it would put officers at risk and make it easier for criminals to possess guns.

Several amendments made by the Senate to the House bill were maintained in the compromise negotiated behind closed doors, including removing a provision that would have prevented officers from questioning someone solely based on their ownership of a handgun.

A Senate amendment enhancing the criminal penalty for criminals and domestic violence offenders caught carrying is also preserved as part of the deal. A requirement that the Texas Department of Public Safety provides a free online course on gun safety was one of the Senate changes that made it into law.

Abbott’s signature on the constitutional carry proposal comes as no surprise since the Republican governor has already stated that he would sign the bill once it arrived on his desk.

“I support it, and I believe it should reach my desk, and we should have constitutional carry in Texas,” he said on April 28.

Abbott was praised by the United States Concealed Carry Association, one of the country’s largest pro-Second Amendment organizations.

“We applaud Governor Abbott for taking this important step to recognize Texans’ natural born right to self-defense. Texas now joins a growing number of states in upholding its citizens’ Constitutionally protected rights while understanding that responsibly-armed citizens can make our communities safer,” USCCA president Tim Schmidt stated in a statement. “Today, the USCCA remains dedicated to educating Americans on firearm safety and their Constitutional right to carry a gun.”

Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Montana, New Hampshire, and North Dakota are among the 20 states that have joined comparable legislation.

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