A license to carry a handgun in Texas used to be unaffordable for many Texans, including Cole Parker of Deer Park.

That changed Sept. 1, he said, when a new state law went into effect, significantly reducing the cost to get a license to carry a handgun. The law, Senate Bill 16, lowers the first-time fee for a five-year license to carry from $140 to $40 and the renewal fee from $70 to $40.

“The $140 fee was the only thing that stopped me from getting a license to carry a handgun,” Parker, 42, said. “The reason I don’t have my license after all these years is because the cost was so high.”

The new fee is expected to cost the state roughly $12.6 million in 2018. The measure allows peace officers to get a license for free.

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