Texas governor signs bills expanding carrying of handguns

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2015 4:37 PM

(Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on Saturday bills allowing the open carrying of handguns in public and of concealed handguns on state university campuses, his office said.

Abbott, a Republican, said the measures secure Texans' rights to bear arms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.

"Today, I am proud to expand liberty in the Lone Star State," Abbott said in a statement.

Abbott's signing of the bills at a shooting range near Austin came just hours after a man attacked the headquarters of the Dallas Police Department with gunfire and explosives. The assailant was shot and killed by police. No one else was injured in the assault.

Abbott called the attack an "isolated incident by someone who had serious mental challenges, as well as a possible criminal background" and "is no indication whatsoever of empowering people with their Second Amendment right," the Texas Tribune reported.

One of the bills allows people with a license to carry a holstered handgun openly anywhere a concealed handgun is allowed.

The bill on carrying handguns at state universities, known as "campus carry," was a priority for gun rights activists, although many universities statewide opposed it.

Texans must be 21 to get a concealed-carry license, meaning many college students will not qualify.

The "open carry" law is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2016 while the "campus carry" will take effect Aug. 1, 2016.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Alan Crosby)