*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cast doubt Tuesday on the possibility that a bill legalizing the open carry of handguns could pass during the current legislative session.
“Second Amendment rights are very important, but open carry does not reach to the level of prioritizing at this point,” he said. “I don’t think the votes are there.”
Patrick, whose comments came during an interview with with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith, also left open the fate of another red-meat measure: repealing in-state tuition at Texas community colleges and universities for children of undocumented immigrants.
“We haven’t talked about that issue yet. But for me personally, it’s something I’d like to see passed,” he said.
The Houston Republican, who took office last Tuesday, was firmer about the prospects of legislation offering public money for students to attend private schools, saying he believed a bill enacting some form of school choice would pass both chambers of the Legislature.
“I am lieutenant governor. It is a high priority,” he said when asked why this session would be different than others when such proposals have failed. “I will fight for school choice because I believe it’s right."
On Tuesday afternoon, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, the author of a bill that would lift the state's handgun licensing requirements, issued a statement in response to Patrick's comments on open carry.
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“If Dan hasn’t had anyone bring this issue up to him, let me make it clear, I am bringing it up to him now,” Stickland wrote. “We need to protect the 2nd amendment rights of Texans, and it’s embarrassing that we haven’t in the past.”
Here is the video of the open carry portion of the interview with Patrick, and below that is the video of the entire conversation.