When the Texas House of Representatives approved a bill last week that would let Texans carry a firearm without a license, it looked like that long-sought-after Republican priority might finally become law.
An obstacle on the other side of the capitol has emerged though.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who leads the Texas Senate, said on Monday that at the moment, the measure doesn’t have enough support in the 31-member upper chamber to pass.
“If we have the votes to pass a permitless carry bill off the Senate floor, I will move it,” Patrick told reporters. “At this point we don’t have the votes on the floor to pass it.”
That leaves the bill in limbo.
It’s not clear where Patrick personally stands on the measure. He said he plans to meet with groups that both support and oppose the bill in the coming days. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Jeremy Wallace, Patrick’s been particularly careful when talking about the policy because of its reception among law enforcement groups, which generally oppose its passage.
“The biggest problem [Republicans] are facing comes down to three little words: ‘Back the blue,’” Wallace told the Texas Standard. “[Republicans] have spent so much time trying to defend police and law enforcement, that as law enforcement has come out against this bill, it’s made them pause.”
The bill has the backing of gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, a group whose Texas chapter bills itself as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Texas.”