Senate approves bill to cut gun-carry license fee
By Alex Samuels
The Texas Tribune
THE TEXAS senate on Monday approved a bill that would significantly reduce the fee for a license to carry a handgun.
In a 26-5 vote, the upper chamber gave final passage to senate bill 16, which would reduce the first-time fee for a license to carry from $140 to $40 and the annual renewal fee from $70 to $40. The bill is now headed to the house of representatives.
If it passes there, only Illinois and Arkansas will have higher fees to obtain a license to carry a handgun. Reducing the fees in Texas is one of lieutenant governor Dan Patrick’s priorities for the legislative session.
Republican senator Robert Nichols of Jacksonville, the bill’s author, said on Monday: “They’re getting these licenses from out of state because our fees are so high. So what we want to do is remove that incentive.”
Reducing the fee would cost the state roughly $15 million, Nichols said. Some Democrats expressed concerns with that.
Senator Kirk Watson, an Austin Democrat, said: “We’ve been told we’ve got to prioritize our needs over our wants. I just don’t believe this is a need we should be prioritizing.”