The Texas Senate on Sunday approved a bill that would allow any Texan who can legally own a firearm to be able to carry it either open or concealed for seven days after the state declares a natural disaster, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The bill, which was narrowly passed 16-15, has been hotly contested. Three Republicans voted against the measure, including Sen. Joan Huffman, R- Houston. The paper reported that she questioned House Bill 1177’s effect on policing after a powerful storm.

“It’s really, really poor public policy that is not well thought out,” she said, according to the paper.

The bill has to be accepted by the House and will then be sent to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, The Texas Tribune reported. The bill would take effect in September 2019.


The bill's sponsor, Rep. Dade Phelan, a Republican, said earlier that he doesn't "want someone to feel like they have to leave their firearms back in an unsecured home for a week or longer, and we all know how looting occurs in storms. Entire neighborhoods are empty and these people can just go shopping, and one of the things they’re looking for is firearms."

Fox News' Elizabeth Llorente contributed to this report