Texas is poised to remove one of its last major gun restrictions after lawmakers approved allowing people to carry handguns without a license and the background check and training that go with it.
The Republican-dominated Legislature approved the measure Monday, sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said he will sign it despite the objections of law enforcement groups who say it would endanger the public and police.
Gun control groups also oppose the measure, noting the state’s recent history of mass shootings, including those at an El Paso Walmart, a church in Sutherland Springs and a high school outside Houston.
Texas already has some of the loosest gun laws in the country and has more than 1.6 million handgun license holders.
Supporters of the bill say it would enable Texans to better defend themselves in public while abolishing unnecessary impediments to the constitutional right to bear arms. Once signed into law, Texas will join nearly two dozen other states that allow some form of unregulated carry of a handgun. It would be by far the most populous such state.
The National Rifle Association was among those supporting the bill, and a spokesman called it the “most significant” gun-rights measure in the state’s history.