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Wednesday afternoon, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced the pre-filing of a Texas Senate Bill that, if passed, would eliminate fees associated with obtaining a license to carry (LTC) permit in the Lone Star State.
Currently, the cost to obtain a permit is $140 and to renew is $70.
Since the Texas legislature doesn't convene until mid-January, the language of the bill in its final form could be different than its current, pre-filed form. But it's worth noting that how it currently reads, all language referencing a fee to obtain a license has been stricken.
In a press release, NRA-ILA, the grassroots arm of the NRA, announced its congratulations and support of the bill's intent to make obtaining a license attainable for Texas citizens at every income level. At $140, Texas has one of the highest fees in the country.
The release reads:
"Your NRA-ILA applauds Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and state Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) for prioritizing and pre-filing legislation for the 85th regular session to address License To Carry (LTC) fees in Texas. Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee, will co-author the bill with Sen. Nichols.
“This is important legislation for the 2017 Texas Legislative Session — License To Carry (LTC) fees in the Lone Star State are some of the highest in the nation. No hard-working, law-abiding Texan should be priced out of the ability to exercise his or her right to self-defense.”
State Senators Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston) are the authors of the bill.
During a Texas Senate State Affairs meeting in January, Sen. Huffman alluded to the filing of a bill that would significantly reduce the cost of applying for a LTC permit. The hearing included testimonies with regard to open carry and campus carry.
Students who just gained the right to carry on campus on August 1st of this year are happy to hear about the possibility of a more affordable permit process.
One group that helped pass the “campus carry” bill in 2015, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), says it “welcome efforts” to decrease permit costs.
In an exclusive interview for Independent Journal Review, Brian Bensimon, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin who's the SCCC Southwest Regional Director, says he believes that the bill would increase access to those who wish to obtain a LTC license.
“Concealed carry is all about individuals being secure in their right of self-defense. SB 16 would ensure more equal access to this right by removing financial barriers to obtaining a license. We should welcome efforts like this to remove unnecessary barriers preventing the exercise of the right to self defense.”
The 2017 Texas Legislative Session begins January 10, 2017. On November 21st, Lt. Governor Patrick included SB 13 in his additional priorities list; as a supplement to the initial list of the executive's legislative priorities for the 85th session, which came out on November 14th.