Texas lawmakers may soon be able to pack heat at church, the hospital, a sporting event or even bars. A bill that passed the Texas Senate today 25-6 would add all elected statewide officials — and even former legislators — to the list of people exempt from concealed handgun laws that prohibit carrying guns at these locations.
Certain statewide officials are already exempted — federal judges, judicial officers, district attorneys and county attorneys. Author of the bill, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, says it exempts legislators so they can carry guns “for their own personal security” and ensure they won’t be prosecuted if they are caught “not purposefully violating the law by carrying” a gun in a prohibited location.
The bill ensures a legal defense can be given in the case of prosecution. For most people, illegally carrying a handgun at any of these locations could result in a Class A misdemeanor or a third degree felony. Punishment for illegally carrying a concealed handgun can vary from a year in county jail or a $4,000 fine to up to 10 years in jail and an optional fine up to $10,000.