AUSTIN, Texas, May 30 (UPI) -- The state of Texas is poised to allow licensed residents to openly carry handguns after lawmakers gave final legislative approval for the measure late Friday.
Gov. Greg Abbott promised to sign the bill into law quickly: "Open Carry just passed in both the Texas House & Senate. Next destination: My Pen," he said on Twitter. The measure will allow licensed Texans to openly carry in a shoulder holster or belt. Although Texas has long allowed open carry of rifles and shotguns, it is currently one of six states that does not allow open carry of handguns.
"We think Texas as being a gun happy state," said Republican House sponsor Larry Phillips, "but we denied citizens the right that most other states afforded them. And so this was the time to do it."
Texas Democrats opposed the bill, threatening to filibuster, but could not stop it. Sen. José Rodríguez said open carry threatened safety.
"I continue to believe this is a bad law, and I voted no. It's simple; I do not believe the proliferation of handguns in public spaces, which have no purpose other than to injure or kill, is good policy," Rodríguez said. "This is not the kind of civil society we want, and it is not one to which we should succumb."
Under the new law, individuals with non-Texas concealed handgun licenses recognized by the state will also be allowed to open carry.