Gov. Greg Abbott will soon sign a bill to lower concealed carry licensing fees in the Lone Star State.
Known as Senate Bill 16, the legislation would slash the initial CCW application fee from $140 to $40 and cut the annual renewal fee from $70 to $40. Prior to this bill’s passage, Texas had one of the highest permit fees in the country, coming in third behind Illinois ($150) and Arkansas ($142.11).
“No Texan should be deprived of their right to self-protection because of onerous licensing fees imposed by the state,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in a video.
— Office of the Lt Gov (@LtGovTX) May 12, 2017
Patrick’s comment raises and interesting question. Aren’t “onerous licensing fees” in the eye of the beholder? What’s more palatable about $40 when you really think about it? Why is the state generating revenue off of a Constitutionally-protected right in the first place? The state doesn’t impose a tax on free speech or a trip to church.
Now, the Texas government says that the money goes to cover the Dept. of Public Safety’s cost to run the licensing program as well as to fund the county, state and federal background check system.
But there’s a better solution, isn’t there? The state can still keep its licensing system for those who want a permit to take advantage of the Texas’ concealed carry reciprocity agreements with other states, but for law-abiding Texans who don’t travel much, wouldn’t it be ideal to simply allow them to carry concealed without a permit at all? This way they wouldn’t have to pay any “onerous licensing fees imposed by the state” at all.
Of course it would! In fact, as many as 13 states already employ this type of system, known as Constitutional Carry. Texas State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) actually introduced Constitutional Carry legislation this session but it did not get the love SB 16 did.
“Constitutional carry as we know it is dead in the House,” state Rep. Stickland told The Texas Tribune on Monday.
Gee, I wonder why Constitutional Carry got shot down? The state will lose approximately $12.6 million in 2018 with the passage of SB 16. I bet it couldn’t stomach to lose any more cashola, which would certainly happen if a Constitutional Carry bill were to pass.
Yes, yes, yes, it’s still good news that carrying concealed will be less expensive but, at the same time, Texas has more work to do if it wants to keep its reputation as one of the vanguards for the gun community.