Licensed Texas handgun owners will be able to carry their weapons openly under a measure nearing agreement in the legislature, the Texas Tribune reports. The last snag was removal of a controversial provision that law enforcement officials have said would allow criminals to carry firearms without repercussions. The provision would have limited the power of law enforcement officials to ask those visibly carrying guns to present their permits. That proposal had support from some Democrats who say it would help prevent racial profiling, as well as conservatives who say it is necessary to protect Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Critics, including the state’s police chiefs, said it amounted to a backdoor effort to repeal licensing requirements for handgun-toting Texans altogether. Gov. Greg Abbott has said he would sign any open carry bill that reaches his desk.