You may soon need a license to drive and vote in Texas but not carry a handgun in public.
After years of failed attempts by gun advocates, the Texas House on Thursday gave initial approval to a bill that would drop the state's requirement that most handgun owners obtain a $40 license to carry their firearm in public, concealed or openly. Currently, Texans 21 and over with no criminal record can get a license to carry a handgun if they complete a training requirement, don't have a drug addiction, and can "exercise sound judgment with respect the proper use and storage of a handgun," the Austin American-Statesman explains.
The measure would drop the license requirement, though federal background checks would remain in place for most handgun purchases, with exceptions for private and gun show sales. It passed 84-56, mainly along party lines; five Democrats voted in favor, one Republican voted against. The legislation needs another vote in the House, and it faces an uncertain future in the state Senate.
Someone opened fire in a busy entertainment district in downtown Austin early Saturday, wounding 13 people, including two critically, before getting away, authorities said.
Investigators were looking into what sparked the shooting and weren’t able to get a detailed description of the shooter, but they believe it was a man, Police Chief Joseph Chacon said at a 4 a.m. news conference. He said investigators were examining surveillance video and other evidence, and he asked anyone with information about the shooting to contact the police.
The gunfire erupted just before 1:30 a.m. along 6th Street, a popular area filled with bars and restaurants. At the time, the street was barricaded to keep out vehicle traffic, Chacon said.
Ten people were shot and wounded at a shopping mall just outside Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, police said on Saturday afternoon.
The wounded ranged in age from 15 to 73, and first responders brought eight to the hospital, said the Columbia police chief, William Holbrook. Two of those brought to the hospital were in critical condition, with six being reported as less critically wounded, Holbrook added.
Another two people who were shot brought themselves to the hospital, while two others suffered wounds that weren’t related to the gunfire, but resulted from a stampede caused by the shooting, bringing the total number of injured to 12.