After saying Tuesday that open carry legislation didn't have the votes to pass the Senate and didn't reach the "level of prioritizing," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sent out a press release on Wednesday signaling that he might be reconsidering.
After noting that he had referred a bill to committee allowing concealed weapons to be carried on university campuses by those with appropriate licenses, Patrick said in a statement, "Now that [Senate Bill] 11 has support and is moving towards passage we can focus on other Second Amendment issues, including open carry, which I have consistently supported."
Patrick's comment followed backlash from advocates for the open carrying of guns, who took objection to his statements at a Texas Tribune event on Tuesday morning. “Second Amendment rights are very important, but open carry does not reach to the level of prioritizing at this point,” Patrick said at the forum. “I don’t think the votes are there.”
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.
“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 Second Amendment rights of Texans, and it’s embarrassing that we haven’t in the past.”
While the fate of open carry legislation is still unclear, campus carry appears to be moving along. Originally authored by state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, the measure has a total of 19 co-authors, which means that — under the Senate's newly adopted rules — it already has enough support to be brought to the floor for passage.
"Once passed we will forward the bill to the Texas House as quickly as constitutionally allowed," Patrick said in a statement. "I am very pleased that the Senate is poised to cast this historic vote."