The Texas State Senate voted to move forward on a bill that would allow any person over 21-years-old to carry a handgun without a license “for the protection of themselves or the families.”

The bill passed 18-13 along party lines Wednesday and will now move to the State House, likely facing no resistance, and then is bound for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott‘s desk. The bill specifies that people who are already explicitly banned from carrying handguns will still be prohibited after the bill becomes law.

“HB 1927 would recognize the United States Constitution as our permit to carry and allow all law-abiding adults,” Texas State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R) explained in a statement, “aged 21 years or older, to carry a handgun for the protection of themselves or their families, in public places, in a holster, without the requirement of a state-issued license.” Schwertner was one of the bill’s cosponsors.

“People who are prohibited from possessing a handgun will still be prohibited from possessing a handgun under this bill,” Schwertner noted. “Nothing in this bill regarding possession is changed.”

Texas Senate Democrats, while outnumbered by Republicans, still came out vehemently against the bill which they believe will promote violent crime more than promote personal or family safety, as the Schwertner claims. Texas State Senator Ronald Gutierrez (D) said on the Senate floor, “More criminals are going to walk around with guns openly, I promise you. More vigilantes are going to rise up.”

The Department of Public Safety denied 2,422 license requests for open-carry of a handgun in 2020. With the new Texas law, those more than 2,000 people denied access to handguns may now legally carry them without a license.

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