Se­nate passes bill to trim hand­gun fee

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - — CHUCK LIN­DELL, AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

The Texas Se­nate on Mon­day ap­proved leg­is­la­tion to cut the fee for a li­cense to carry a firearm from $140 to $40.

Se­nate Bill 16, which also would cut the re­newal fee from $70 to $40, next goes to the House af­ter the 26-5 vote.

The $140 fee, among the high­est in the na­tion, “places an un­due bur­den on the right to bear arms,” said the bill’s au­thor, state Sen. Robert Ni­chols, R-Jack­sonville.

Ni­chols es­ti­mated the lower fee would cost the state about $15 mil­lion a year.

State Sen. Kirk Wat­son, D-Austin, said he would have sup­ported the bill be­cause “we are clearly charg­ing more than the ac­tual cost of get­ting a hand­gun li­cense.” How­ever, he said SB 16 went too far, par­tic­u­larly in a tight bud­get ses­sion, adding that $15 mil­lion a year could be used to hire child-wel­fare work­ers or fund a vet­er­ans em­ploy­ment as­sis­tance pro­gram.

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