by Jim Vertuno
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas lawmakers have approved licensed open carry of handguns on the streets of the nation's second-most populous state.
The bill cleared the Legislature late Friday. It now heads to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it.
The bill would reverse a ban dating to the post-Civil War era.
The measure passed after key concessions were made to police groups, who demanded that they not be restricted from questioning people carrying guns, to ensure they had proper licenses to do so.
Texas' ban on open carry was enacted to disarm former Confederate soldiers and freed slaves. Despite it, the state has a gun-friendly reputation through the Wild West legends of cowboys and some of the nation's most relaxed gun laws.
Texas has about 850,000 concealed handgun license holders.