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Texans who have lost or damaged their license to carry a handgun as a result of Hurricane Harvey can temporarily receive a free replacement, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday.
“By eliminating burdensome fees to replace these important licenses, Texans can focus on rebuilding their lives and communities," Abbott said in a news release, directing the Texas Department of Public Safety to halt charging eligible residents $25 for a license to carry replacement card and $15 for a private security board one.
A DPS spokesman told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday that the agency did not have estimates on the number of Texans who had a lost or damaged license because of Harvey. Per Abbott's release, residents in counties that were included in the gubernatorial disaster declaration and who are active license holders are eligible to receive a replacement at no cost.
Abbott's announcement comes days after a new law significantly reducing the first-time and renewal fees for a license to carry a handgun went into effect. The measure, which the Texas Legislature passed during the regular session this spring, lowered the first-time fee from $140 to $40 and the renewal fee from $70 to $40.
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The new law, which has made Texas one of the states with the lowest license-to-carry fees in the nation, is set to cost the state around $12.6 million in 2018.
Read related Tribune coverage:
After signing a bill and testing out a few guns at a shooting range Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott held up his bullet-riddled target sheet and joked, "I'm gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters." [Full story]
The proposal, Senate Bill 16 by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, would reduce the first-time fee for a license to carry from $140 to $40 and the annual renewal fee from $70 to $40. [Full story]