By Lora-Marie Bernard
THE COUNTY’S US congressman, Randy Weber, and a cadre of Texas representatives introduced a firearms bill last week that seeks to extend Texas’ open-carry rights to the nation.
Weber introduced the firearm rights equally enforced act, known as the FREE act, on Thursday. If enacted, it will recognize valid state open-carry or concealed-carry permits throughout the nation.
Weber, whose Texas district 14 includes Galveston County, said: “My bill would allow responsible gun owners the right to carry nationwide. By allowing licensed gun owners to carry in all 50 states, it affords them the opportunity to protect their property and the ones they love.”
A statement released by his office said FREE recognizes a link between concealed-carry permits and the murder rate.
It noted a Crime Prevention Research Center study that states concealed-carry permits have increased by 156 per cent for men and by 270 per cent for women since 2007. Weber’s office said that, during the same period, the national murder rate fell from 5.6 people per 100,000 to 4.2 per 100,000.
“Criminals recognize that more permits means it is riskier to attack their victims,” the statement read.
Texas congressmen who are co-sponsoring the bill are representatives Brian Babin, Pete Sessions, Bill Flores, John Ratcliffe and Michael Conaway. Other co-sponsors are representatives Andy Harris, Jody Hice and Steve King.