Houston’s transit agency repealed its ban Thursday on the carrying of concealed handguns on buses and commuter trains.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, known as Metro, had prohibited such weapons since 1995.
But in 2003, the Legislature passed a law that said Texas cities cannot bar licensed gun owners from carrying concealed weapons in public buildings. Pro-gun organizations then sued Metro, contending the law applies to public transit, too.
“I think Metro was not enthusiastic about people carrying handguns on board, but we cannot legally ban people who are legally carrying those handguns from being on Metro,” said David Wolff, Metro’s chairman, who called the change a “nonevent.”
Jerry Patterson, chairman of the Civil Liberties Defense Foundation, one of the groups that sued, said: “Metro is to be commended. They did the right thing. They did the lawful thing. They saved their ratepayers unnecessary funds to litigate it further.”
Patterson said his organization has simply tried to make sure that licensed and law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns on transit systems if they wish to, he said.
Next on Patterson’s list are transit systems in Austin and San Antonio, as well as other government entities that still have similar bans in place.
“This win gives us more leverage when we talk to them,” he said.