AUSTIN, Texas -- Lawmakers and gun rights advocates have teamed up to renew their fight for unlicensed carry - or as they refer to it "Constitutional Carry."
House Bill 375, led by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, would allow any citizen who can lawfully possess a firearm to hold one without currently required taxes, training requirements, or licensing.
"We're very excited about actually making this law in Texas," explained Rep. Stickland, adding he's received greater interest in the bill than in the past.
"It's a de-facto registration or gun owner registration - whether you think it is or not, there's files and folders of gun owners in Texas," added Justin Delosh with Lone Star Gun Rights.
When asked about gaining the necessary support, Rep. Stickland said the decision should come from the people's wishes - not lawmaker's personal feelings.
"Number one, it's not their job to decide what lives and what dies. This is the people's house in the Texas House of Representatives and there are many of us who have been pushed by our constituents, pushed by the party we signed up to run under, and the Constitution of the United States that we swore an oath to, that matter a lot more to us than what House leadership decides should and shouldn't die."
Rep. Stickland said despite the belief that more guns would mean more violence, supporters felt the opposite was true.
"There is certainly evil in this world, I'm not going to deny that. But what we see time and time again, an armed society is a safe society," he explained.
But the proposal has its' critics, including Ed Scruggs, the Vice Chair of the Board for Texas Gun Sense.
"Representative Stickland is a proponent of what I call a guns everywhere philosophy, where he believes you should be able to carry anywhere anytime and believes the world is safer the more people are carrying weapons. I think that's an extremist view that's not even a majority view in the Legislature," explained Scruggs.
He believes the bill would further repeal needed requirements - continuing down a path that allowed for campus carry.
"Basically, it just trashes every gun regulation in the state. It trashes every safety regulation in the state. There would really be no reason to have a licensing or permitting system at all," Scruggs explained.
Advocates noted eleven other states had passed similar legislation, as they noted their belief that Texas was "trailing" on the issue.
"You can't compare those states with Texas. That's like comparing an apple to an orange. We have four of the largest metro areas in the United States... in North America," Scruggs contended.
Scruggs noted that advocates pointed to the state's licensing system as a previous argument for campus carry, which is at odds of their current push.
Advocates also argued over fees being too costly for those wishing to carry, ranging from initial tax to renewal tax, to training requirements.
Scruggs said there's already legislation to address that - adding he did not believe the costs (estimated at $140 for initial tax, $75 for training fees, and $70 renewal tax every five years) were exorbitant.
"Doing away with the license and permitting system, that's going to cost the state, we estimate, $20 million," said Scruggs.
Rep. Stickland would not identify a co-sponsor of the bill in the Senate, but intimated they did have support.