The Texas House tentatively passed a bill 111-30 on Tuesday that would reduce the application fee to obtain a gun license.
Senate Bill 16 would cut the fee for a license to carry a firearm from $140 to $40 and would cut the renewal fee from $70 to $40.
State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, who has filed an identical bill in the House said that the measure is meant to reduce the burden of carrying a firearm.
“The fee is currently so high that it impairs a lot of people’s ability to get a license to carry,” King said.
According to the author of SB 16, Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, only Arkansas and Illinois have higher application fees. The total number of applications, including renewals, annually have increased from 155,932 applications to 386,397 between 2011 and 2016, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The bill would cost the state $22 million in lost revenue over the next two years, according to the Legislative Budget Board.
State Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth who voted against the bill, said that the money should be spent on more pressing matters like schools or child welfare. She also said that guns are being given special treatment.
“If we’re going to do this for handguns, maybe there are other areas that we need to consider?” she said. “I just feel like our priorities are misplaced.”
The bill is expected to easily pass the House on a final vote.