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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott jokes about shooting reporters after celebrating gun bill

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Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday visited a shooting range to sign a bill into law that significantly reduces the cost to get a license to carry a handgun, making Texas one of the states with the lowest fee in the nation.

“The right to bear arms is something that is synonymous with the state of Texas. We are proud to expand the right to bear arms by lowering the cost of what you have to pay in order to get a license to carry,” Abbott said. “Texans’ ability to bear arms is going to be even bolder today than it’s ever been before.”

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The law, Senate Bill 16, reduces the first-time fee for a license to carry from $140 to $40 and the renewal fee from $70 to $40. A license to carry permit is valid in Texas for five years. The new fee will go into effect on Sept. 1.

Following the bill signing, Abbott tested out a few guns at an upstairs shooting range.

“I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters,” Abbott joked while holding his bullet-ridden target sheet.

The fee paid by license-to-carry holders covers the Department of Public Safety’s cost to administer the license program as well as $27 needed for county, state and federal background checks, according to the measure’s author, state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville.

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“They’re getting these licenses from out of state because our fees are so high. So what we want to do is remove that incentive,” Nichols said when his measure passed the Senate.

“It’s unbelievable [that] Texas is one of the most costly states in the United States of America to get a license to carry,” Abbott said Friday. “No Texan should be priced out of their way to defend themselves.”

Abbott believes Texas shouldn’t impose any fees on licenses to carry handguns, a spokeswoman said in January. In the Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick granted the bill “priority” status.

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The measure includes an amendment by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, that waives the fee for peace officers to get a license to carry a gun.

Only Illinois and Arkansas now have higher fees to obtain a license to carry a handgun, Nichols said.

Reducing the fee is expected to cost the state roughly $12.6 million in 2018.

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BY ALEX SAMUELS, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Republican stumbles as he tries to defend Trump’s claim that Iran can be trusted to fight ISIS

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During an appearance on Fox News this Wednesday, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) hit a snag while trying to justify President Trump's earlier contention that Russia and Iran would step in to fill the void left by the US after its withdrawal from northeast Syria, saying that "Russia, Iran, Syria and to maybe slightly lesser extent Turkey, they all hate ISIS as much as we do," during a Wednesday press conference alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Speaking to Biggs, Fox News host Harris Faulkner pointed out that Trump's willingness to partly cede Syria's future to Iran contradicts his and other conservatives' rhetoric towards the Islamic Republic.

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Alan Dershowitz boots rival lawyer from sex abuse case

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Alan Dershowitz continues to deny accusations that he had sex with an underage woman on Jeffrey Epstein's private island. Flight logs show Dershowitz regularly flew on Epstein's private plane, dubbed the Lolita Express.

Dershowitz' explanation for why the allegations continue to dog him despite his firm denies is that a lawyer for the woman accusing Dershowitz—Virginia Giuffre—is out to get him.

On Wednesday, a judge agreed to take David Boies, the high-profile lawyer, off the case, reports the Daily Beast.

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Here are the six most absurd things Trump just said in his unhinged Wednesday press conference

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President Donald Trump unloaded a whole lot of crazy during a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Trump attacked America's allies in the Middle East, his own political allies on Capitol Hill and repeated talking points used by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdo?an.

Here are six of the most absurd things from the press conference.

Trump proved he has no idea what's happening

During the press conference, Trump claimed his decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria was "strategically brilliant."

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