AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott visited a gun range Friday to sign a law reducing Texas’ fees for licenses to carry handguns to the lowest in the nation.
According to the Texas Tribune, the governor then joked, “I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters,” while holding his bullet-ridden target sheet.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence posted to their Facebook page, “The governor of Texas made a dangerous and out of line joke. We’ve seen time and time again these type of words insight [sic] violence. Words matter. #ENOUGH.” The governor’s office has not responded to a request for comment.
The Republican governor endorsed a law dropping to $40, from $140, the cost of first-time permits, and from $70 to $40 fees for 5-year-renewals. Abbott then took target practice, as he often does after signing gun bills.
The law also waives the fee for peace officers and members of the Texas military forces.
The National Rifle Association said Texas’ gun carry fees are now America’s lowest.
“Texas is known for its strong Second Amendment rights laws, and I’m proud to further strengthen those rights today,” said Governor Abbott. “No law abiding Texan should be priced out of the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights. I’d like to thank Senator Robert Nichols and Representative Phil King for their work in expanding liberty in Texas.”
It’ll cost Texas nearly $22 million in its 2018-2019 budget, despite the oil-price slump leaving the state up to $6 billion short of being able to maintain current spending levels.
Still, supporters argued that Texas’ high, past fees made many people travel to other states to obtain cheaper licenses they could use back home.