On May 27th, the Texas House and Senate passed HB 1177, the Emergency Carry Bill in Texas. It grants temporary permitless carry to all legal Texas gun owners in the event of a declared emergency and for 7 days following the disaster. At his discretion, the Governor may also extend the time period for Emergency Carry to be in effect beyond the set 7-day period.
According to Guns and Gadgets, the House version of the bill was the friendlier of the two, granting a one-week permitless condition where residents would not be required to have a carry permit in order to legally carry a handgun. The Senate wanted a much less lenient version which granted only 48 hours for the emergency carry to be in effect. After some deliberating, the Senate caved and both bills were passed with the week-long duration. The final vote in the Senate came down to a 1-vote margin.
The bill covers carrying while evacuating from the site of the disaster, transporting and moving to a new location, and carrying at the new location as well.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott has not indicated whether he will sign the bill, but most political analysts think it's quite likely. Recently Abbott signed measures to expand carry rights, campus carry, and open carry, while earlier in May he signed a tenant’s rights proposal that had the support of several gun rights organizations.
The bill may have been inspired by one like it in Florida, where in 2015 the legislature there passed a bill to allow permitless carry due to the common threat of hurricanes and the lawlessness that can follow.
Strong support for the Texas bill came from the Gun Owners of America, Open Carry Texas, the National Rifle Association, and the Texas State Rifle Association. Anti-gun groups did their best to oppose the bill but failed in their attempts to stop it.
HB 1177 was authored by Rep. Phelan, sponsored by Rep. Creighton, and co-sponsored by Reps. Bettencourt and Fallon.
See our updated Constitutional Carry map.