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Bill to cut gun license fees advances in Senate

A Senate committee approved four gun-related bills Monday, including one to cut the fee for a license to carry a handgun from $140 to $40.

Senate Bill 16, approved 9-0 by the State Affairs Committee, originally waived the entire fee, but a new version submitted Monday by Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, would create a break-even $40 fee for new and renewed licenses that would cover state costs to issue the permit.

“Texas has one of the most expensive licenses in the country,” Alice Tripp, a Texas State Rifle Association lobbyist, told the committee. “We’re finding the cost to DPS and the state is $40, meaning there’s a $100 tax on personal protection.”

Members of groups that favor scrapping the need for a license to carry a handgun concealed or in a holster spoke in favor of SB 16’s lower fees, saying the license enables Texans to carry a weapon in states that have reciprocity agreements.

Other bills approved Monday and sent to the full Senate, all on 9-0 votes, included:

• Senate Bill 263, which would remove the requirement that a .32-caliber or higher handgun be used for the shooting-proficiency test needed to acquire a license to carry.

• Senate Bill 264, which would waive the shooting proficiency test for state and county corrections officers who have passed on-the-job firearms training.

• Senate Bill 138, which would waive the shooting-proficiency test for honorably discharged military veterans who had completed firearms training or gun-range instruction within 10 years.

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