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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.
WATCH: Saturday Night Live airs Christmas special — that’s just one giant dig at the Electoral College
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired an opening skit that was just one giant attack on the electoral college.
A snowman introduced the segment, saying that we could look in on the holiday table conversation thanks to hacked Nest cams.
The skit featured a house in San Francisco, California, a second in Charleston, South Carolina and a third in Atlanta, Georgia.
Each dinner table debated impeachment, and the differences between President Donald Trump and his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
But then the snowman said that none of their votes matter.
"They'll debate the issues all year long, but then it all comes down to 1,000 people in Wisconsin who won't even think about the election until the morning of," the snowman said. "And that's the magic of the Electoral College."
Georgia mayor being recalled for racism resigns from office: report
Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly resigned in a special city council meeting held on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday.
"The resignation came just days after Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned saying he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month," the newspaper reported. "Both resignations follow an AJC investigation launched seven months ago into claims that an African American candidate for city administrator was sidetracked by Mayor Theresa Kenerly because of his race."
Nine 2020 Democrats unite to demand DNC Chair Tom Perez scrap debate rules: report
The Democratic National Committee is facing a revolt for the party's 2020 presidential candidates for its restrictive debate rules.
"Nine Democratic presidential candidates, including the party's front-runners, are urging the Democratic National Committee to toss out the current polling and fundraising rules used to determine who appears in televised debates and reopen the exchanges to better reflect the historic diversity of the current field. The candidates say the rules exclude diverse candidates in the field from participating," CBS News reported Saturday evening.