HOUSTON, 1 September (BelTA - Xinhua) - Starting at midnight on Tuesday, anyone aged 21 years or older can carry a handgun without a permit or any training in U.S. state Texas.
Currently, Texans have to be licensed to carry, openly or concealed, a handgun. And to obtain such a license, they have to submit their fingerprints, receive 4 to 6 hours of training, complete and pass a written exam and a shooting proficiency test.
These procedures will be abandoned in just a few hours. Under the state's "constitutional carry" gun law which goes into effect on Sept. 1, people who legally own a firearm can carry it openly or concealed in Texas with no permits or trainings required.
The only restriction is that you must be legally allowed to own a gun. That means you cannot have a felony or a conviction for domestic violence, according to a report from local media outlet KTRK.
The law also prohibits open carry if you are convicted of assault causing bodily injury, deadly conduct, terroristic threats or disorderly conduct with a firearm, said the report.
The law does require the Department of Public Safety to offer a free online gun safety course, which is not mandatory, the report added.
However, there are still rules on where people can and cannot carry, and the new gun law does not grant any amnesty for these occasions, said the report.
The difference is that currently businesses in Texas have to post signs in both English and Spanish to exclude unlicensed firearm owners. From Sept. 1, they will be required a third sign under the new law.
The lack of training worries some, including those who run gun ranges, according to the report.
"Constitutional carry means anyone can carry a gun and we cannot question them, which should be a problem to everyone," President of the Houston Police Officers' Union Douglas Griffith said.
"It is allowing those untrained individuals to walk around with a firearm. It is detrimental to the entire public," said Griffith.
Texas may return to its Wild West past, or even worse, some gun control advocates in Texas lamented. The new law is seen as a heavy blow for the promotion of gun safety in the state.
According to the website run by Texas Gun Sense, there were 3,683 gun-related deaths in 2019 in the state.
Excluding Texas, 19 other U.S. states have adopted some form of permitless carry and Texas is by far the largest, according to loca media reports.