Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday signed legislation that allows licensed Texans to openly tote their handguns in a hip or shoulder holster.
Gov Abbot praised the legislation as a salute to the “genius” of the country’s founding fathers and a strong endorsement of the Second Amendment.
The signing of House Bill 910 by state Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, came at a fitting locale: Red’s Indoor Range, a popular gun store and shooting range in Pflugerville.
Abbott also signed legislation later in the day that requires the state’s public universities and colleges to allow handguns on campus buildings and in dorms.
“There is nothing more important in democracy than the voice of the people stepping up and saying ‘We expect the Constitution of the United States of America to be our guiding doctrine,’” he said.
The ceremony came at an opportunistic time for Second Amendment opponents, after a gunman in an armored vehicle opened fire at the Dallas police headquarters and then fled to a local restaurant, where he was shot and killed.
Abbott spoke strongly about the lack of linkage between expanded gun rights in Texas incidents such as the shooting, in which only the gunman was killed.
“The event in Dallas was an isolated incident by someone who had serious mental challenges, as well as a possible criminal background,” he said. “It is no indication whatsoever of empowering people with their Second Amendment right. In fact the contrary is true.”
At the signing Abbott praised the National Rifle Association and its Texas affiliate, the Texas State Rifle Association, who along with GOP lawmakers he said were vital in getting the bill to his desk.
“I don’t think there are any groups in this state, or in this nation, who worked as profoundly to ensure that the Constitution is lived up to,” he said.
Regarding the open carry on college legislation, the governor pointed out that other states with similar measures have had no issues as a result of such laws.
“In general, what we've seen in the states that have campus carry, there haven’t been any problems on those campuses,” he said.
That bill, by state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, permits students who are 21 years of age and older, with a valid concealed handgun license, to carry their firearms on public campuses.
Private colleges, in a strong endorsement of rights, will be allowed to opt out of the policy.
In addition, public universities and colleges will be able to establish rules on where handguns can be carried and how they must be stored.
“I think that the way the Legislature worked this out [that] we will see that campus carry in the state of Texas will also pose no more problems,” Abbott said.