Texas is taking aim at the state’s most notorious gun loophole with a new law that could force gun owners to register their guns, which could save the state millions of dollars over the next decade.
The bill passed Wednesday by the Texas Senate would make it illegal to own a handgun or rifles without a permit from the city, county or state, which would be required if a gun owner has been convicted of a crime.
The bill also makes it illegal for a person to own more than three guns and requires that gun owners have a state-issued concealed carry permit.
Under the new law, gun owners would also have to have the proper identification on their person to legally own a gun.
If someone with a concealed carry license is convicted of committing a felony, that person would be disqualified from owning a gun for one year.
The new law also requires that an owner of a gun must also show proof of identity.
Gun owners who have been convicted for a crime will not be able to get a concealed handgun permit if they have been sentenced to more than one year in prison or if the person was ordered to pay restitution to a victim of domestic violence or a child abuser.
“It’s an effective way to stop this from happening,” said Sen. John Whitmire, a Democrat from Houston.
The law, which is set to take effect July 1, would not apply to felons, fugitives or people who are on parole.
The Senate passed the bill on a party-line vote of 36-20, after Republican Gov.
Greg Abbott, a staunch supporter of the law, had urged lawmakers to vote down the bill.
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Republican Rep. Matt Krause, who represents the heavily Democratic district in the Rio Grande Valley, has pushed for more guns in his district for years.
He has pushed bills to expand gun rights and restrict gun ownership.
He also introduced a bill to require people to have licenses to carry a gun to avoid a state law that bans firearms in cars.
But Republicans in the House have been reluctant to support the bill, saying it doesn’t go far enough and is not consistent with other state laws that have already been passed.
“We have to look at what our neighbor is doing,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican from Houston who voted against the bill during the special session.
“If they have a firearm in their home, it is a crime and that’s the last place you want to put a gun in the house.”
Texas has the highest number of people in prison for gun crimes in the country, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, with about 1,500 people behind bars for crimes committed with firearms in 2014.