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Governor vows to veto Texas concealed handgun bill

By MARK LANGFORD

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Gov. Ann Richards, concerned over the high number of shooting deaths, Tuesday vowed to veto a bill that would allow the state's residents to carry concealed handguns.

The measure - a touchy issue in a state known for its liberal gun laws - won final passage in the House and went to the Senate Tuesday.

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If approved by the Senate, the bill will go to Richards for signature.

However, even if the Legislature succeeded in overriding the governor's veto, the measure would still have to be approved by voters in a special election.

Supporters say law abiding Texans need it to protect themselves in an environment of growing violence and crimes.

The governor said, 'This legislation will only increase the level of violence in our streets.' She said every law enforcement officer she has talked to opposes the bill.

She added, 'Frankly, the only outcome of the passage of this bill will be more people killed by gunfire.'

State Sen. Ken Armbrister, the bill's Senate sponsor, says there are enough Senate votes to override a veto. However, the 95-47 vote in the House was five votes short of the number required to override.

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Under the bill, Texans over 21 and who do not have a criminal record or a drug or alcohol problem can carry a concealed weapon after taking a safety course. The resident must also pay a $140 fee and meet other requirements necessary to obtain a license.

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