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Gov. Abbott Holds Gun Bill Signing In San Antonio, Says The Alamo Represents 2nd Amendment Freedoms

Gov. Greg Abbott at a press conference at Bexar County's Freeman Coliseum in April 2021.
Dominic Anthony Walsh
Texas Public Radio
Gov. Greg Abbott at a press conference at Bexar County's Freeman Coliseum in April 2021.

If one were to ask Gov. Greg Abbott why the Alamo represents Texas freedom, he'd say it was because the "defenders" were able to openly carry weapons to protect themselves. At least, that's what he said Thursday afternoon, when he came to San Antonio to ceremonially sign seven firearm-related bills into law.

The governor was joined by several other Republican lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dade Phelan and several representatives who authored the legislation.

The bills were officially signed into law the previous day, and all will go into effect Sept. 1. Abbott signed seven bills at the ceremony in San Antonio, starting with what he called “the biggest and best of them all.”

House Bill 1927: This bill is known as permitless carry, also called “constitutional carry.” It allows residents to carry a gun without previous required licensing or training.

Senate Bill 19: This bill prohibits companies from contracting with Texas government agencies if they have practices, policies or guidance that “discriminates against a firearm entity or firearm trade association.”

Senate Bill 20: This bill prohibits hotels from not allowing guests to store a firearm or ammunition in their rooms, as well as from not allowing guests to carry that firearm or ammunition to their rooms.

Senate Bill 550: This bill expands what kinds of holsters are legal.

House Bill 957: This bill removes the prohibition on suppressors in Texas Penal Code. Suppressors are regulated federally.

House Bill 1500: This bill categorizes firearms and ammunition businesses as “essential” during disaster declarations.

House Bill 2622: This bill is also known as the “Second Amendment Sanctuary Act.” It prohibits the enforcement of certain federal regulations on firearms, accessories or ammunition that are not in state law.

Abbott said guns are a necessity when it comes to Texans’ ability to protect themselves, pointing to how Rangers in South Texas need guns “to be able to defend themselves against cartels and gangs and other very dangerous people.”

He said Texas is pushing back against the national narrative that puts Second Amendment rights “under assault.”

“Texas will not let that happen,” he said.

In the Q&A portion of the ceremony, a reporter asked Abbott about how these newly-signed bills connect tothe shooting in Austin just last week. The crowd booed, and then Abbott responded:

“Those who believe and support Second Amendment rights, we support the right of everyone law-abiding American to be able to have a weapon to defend themselves,” he said. “That is different from teenagers unlawfully getting access to guns to commit crimes. Those are people who deserve to be behind bars for the rest of their lives.”

Abbott circled back to why he was in San Antonio to sign the bills in the first place.

“You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights, but today, I signed documents that instill freedom in the Lone Star State, and that’s what the Alamo represents,” Abbott said.

Abbott’s new legislation has solicited criticism from advocacy groups statewide. Shortly after the press conference in San Antonio, Moms Demand Action hosted “#AbbottFailedTexas” protests across the state, including outside of the San Antonio Municipal Courthouse. The protest was specifically against HB 1927, the permitless carry bill.

In a press release, the advocacy group called HB 1927 “a dangerous permitless carry bill that will strip the state of essential permitting and training standards for carrying handguns in public.”

There were also protests in Austin, Houston, Dallas and El Paso on Thursday.

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Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon