Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to reduce the licensing fees for concealed carry permits, which are currently some of the highest in the nation.
In a press release discussing additional legislative priorities for 2017, Lt. Gov. Patrick outlined the goal of “SB 16.”
“License To Carry Fee Reform – SB 16 will continue to support 2nd Amendment rights by making lawful carry more affordable for the average law abiding citizen. Texas currently has one of the highest License to Carry fees in the country, and we will fix that,” it stated.
It’s true. Lone Star State residents can expect to pay $140 for their original application fee, assuming they don’t meet any of the discount requirements (discounted fees exist for judicial officers, military personnel, veterans, senior citizens, among others).
While the lieutenant governor didn’t explain exactly how much he would cut the fees by, it has to be a welcome sign for the almost million or so concealed carry permit holders in Texas (renewal fees are due every five years and are a whopping $70).
Of course, what would be even better than a reduction in fees would be a Constitutional Carry bill that allows gun owners to carry openly or concealed without a permit! That’s right no permit, no fees, no mandatory training! Just buy a gun and you’re good to carry.
“It is time in Texas to restore our Second Amendment rights to their originally intended level,” Stickland, R-Bedford, said in a statement. “No Texan should have to pay a fee or take a class to exercise their right to bear arms.”
Last year, a similar bill failed to clear the Legislature, meanwhile, a campus carry bill for public universities and an open carry bill for licensed permit holders were recently enacted into law. So, maybe 2017 will be the year for Constitutional carry.
However, at least one political analyst believes that the Second Amendment will take a back seat this coming year due to all the other hot-button issues that need to be addressed.
“Much of the oxygen for contentious issues will be taken up with other social issues or addressing high profile policy failures,” Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, told The Star-Telegram.
“Second amendment activists got a lot of attention and several wins last session, so given the short session and limited political bandwidth, we are not likely to see these issues back in a major way.”
We’ll have to wait and see what happens. If Constitutional Carry once again falls by the wayside, hopefully, Lt. Gov. Patrick’s quest to reduce licensing fees takes hold because charging someone to exercise a fundamental right is tantamount to infringement. Much in the same way we’ve outlawed a poll tax, it’s time to put a stop to taxing someone for simply bearing arms.