States across the country relaxing gun ownership restrictions

U.S.

AUSTIN, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Texas is now the latest state poised to allow residents to legally carry a firearm without a license, background check, or training.

Currently, Texans must submit fingerprints, go through a criminal background check and take a course on gun safety before being allowed to carry a gun.

The proposed law strips those requirements and allows permitless carry to individuals 21 and up — as long as they don’t have a felony conviction.

The bill’s supporters say those requirements infringe on citizens Second Amendment rights.

“If the federal law says you can own that gun — you should be able to carry that gun,” said one supporter.

Texas State Senator Charles Schwertner tweeted, “this bill is a strong #constitutionalcarry bill that will restore the right of law-abiding Texans to carry a handgun without a license for the defense of themselves & their loved ones.”

The legislation follows similar measures passed in Utah, Montana, Iowa, and most recently Tennessee.

Critics say the bill is in bad faith, especially in the wake of a string of mass shootings in the Lone Star State, including those at an El Paso Walmart, a church in Sutherland Springs, and a high school outside of Houston.

“This bill arms everyone first then tries to figure out if they’re a risk second,” said a woman opposed to the bill at a Texas legislature hearing.

The bill was also largely opposed by law enforcement groups from police chiefs to sheriffs and prosecutors.

“Stripping away those safeguards will make our streets less safe and make law enforcement’s jobs harder,” said Austin Police Interim Chief Joe Chacon.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.

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