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Texas Pushes for Open Carry

Texas Pushes for Open Carry

Don’t tread on the Second Amendment

When you think of Texas, you probably think of a magical wonderland of beer, brisket, and high-powered weaponry, all proudly put on display as if to say, “This is America, and we have won it.”

If you’re indeed thinking that, you’re absolutely right, of course; but you may be surprised to know that Texas is just one of a handful of states still harboring an outright ban on the open carry of handguns.

During the past three legislative sessions (the Texas legislature meets every other year,) elected officials have tried and failed to cobble together a viable open carry bill; but Greg Abbott, current Attorney General and Governor-elect, pledged during his campaign to make open carry happen for gun-loving Texans, and he doesn’t seem to be backing down.

Via Fox News:

“If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas,” Abbott said the day after his election last month.

And if Texas, which allows concealed handguns, embraces open carry — rolling back a 140-year ban — it would be the largest state to have done so.

Open carry drew wide support in the 2014 statewide election, and at least six bills have already been filed for the upcoming session, which starts in January. Abbott has already pledged to sign one into law if sent to his desk.

Coni Ross, a 63-year-old rancher in Blanco, carries a handgun in her purse for personal protection and said she’d like the option to carry it openly on her belt if she could. She already does when she’s on her ranch and feels comfortable with her gun by her side.

“In one-and-a-half seconds, a man can run 25 feet with a knife in his hands and stab you before you get your gun out,” Ross said. “If your weapon is concealed you’re dead.”

Coni Ross is absolutely right, and brings up an excellent point: the Texas gun culture isn’t rooted in a perverse desire to brandish exciting-looking weapons at the huddled masses, but in a desire to protect lives and property.

Of course, not everyone subscribes to Coni’s way of thinking, and that has caused trouble for open carry advocates. Earlier this year, open carry activists made headlines after legally carrying rifles in public as a manner of protest against laws they deem restrictive and unconstitutional:

The open-carry protests, which began gaining notice last year but picked up steam in May, have spurred some businesses to request patrons keep guns off their premises, saying the weapons spook customers. The rallies have also sparked a response from gun-control activists, who have tried to pressure businesses into publicly opposing guns.

After open-carry activists brought rifles into a Dallas-area Chipotle on May 17, the company in a statement asked customers to leave guns outside, explaining that “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”

After that announcement, the National Rifle Association published a blog post decrying the Texas open-carry protests as “downright scary.” Four days later, NRA Executive Director Chris W. Cox apologized for the post, which was removed from the site.

Texas Carry and other advocacy groups issued a statement on May 23 vowing to “not go into corporate businesses without prior permission, preferably not at all.” Mr. Holcomb and C.J. Grisham, the president of the group Open Carry Texas, say the statement reflects their groups’ respect for private property and their desire to focus the conversation on their legislative goals.

As someone who saw this little drama play out first hand, I can tell you that it was a complete mess. The protests caused a split even within the open carry advocate community, with many supporters of looser regulations accusing those who chose to carry rifles into their local Starbucks of attempting to create a media circus, as opposed to an environment that would be friendly to new legislation.

The thing about guns is that if you’ve never been exposed to them, they can look intimidating. This is a universal truth that any gun lover should at the very least acknowledge, because many people who have concerns about open carry aren’t harboring an irrational hatred for the Constitution, but a lack of knowledge about Texas law, or why open carry is better for self-defense than concealed carry.

Texas may be ready for open carry, but if legislators want to send a bill to the Governor’s desk during the upcoming legislative session, they’re going to have to be very careful, and very productive, in the way that they address the public’s concerns on the issue. The non-political classes have been fed a bill of goods by anti-gun activists, and rather than brushing resulting concerns aside, we should be ready with an arsenal (gun pun!) of educational material on the virtues of the Second Amendment, the heavy responsibilities and duties that come along with gun ownership, and a willingness to hash out the “conversation” that so many progressives are insisting upon.

Believe me, if there’s anyone in the world capable of “having a conversation” about a fundamental right, and winning it, it’s a Texan.

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Comments

The OC Texas (remove pejorative) did incredible harm with their Chipotle, Starbucks, and others, stunts IMHO. But even that damage can be repaired. I would probably never be among those that open carry, but I’d sure like that option. Constitutional Carry would be best, but I’ll willingly take an enhanced type of cc law, such as a cc license enabling open carry.

    joethefatman,

    Lawfully carrying a firearm “did incredible harm?”

    How? By setting off the Democrat-Media Complex?

    Since when did lawful behavior become harmful?

    I really don’t give a rat’s butt about the political ‘sensibilities’ of leftist Constitution-Haters.

    I have open carried in Starbucks and many other places and have gotten numerous smiles and nods of approval.

    Leftists scare people.

    Lawful gun possession scares criminals.

      joethefatman in reply to VotingFemale. | December 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      By their grandiose actions of attention whoring the situation is how they did harm. The act of open carrying for the media into places that, up until then, were happy to let local custom and laws prevail is how they did harm. By attracting the attention of the media to them instead of an unjust law is how they caused harm.

      First rule of open carry: DON’T BE A D!<K!

      Be polite to the owners of those establishments and don't cause them to choose between your wants and the other sides lunacy. If you can't figure this point out, then please don't help.

        joethefatman,

        I’ll see your thumbs-down and raise you a thumbs down 😛

        Sooo… attracting the attention of the 2A-hating left-wing media is ‘harmful,’ eh?

        AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

        Grow a pair, big boy.

          joethefatman in reply to VotingFemale. | December 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm

          No, antagonizing people with the help of the media is not helpful and never will be.

          And if you can’t grasp that most basic of concepts we are done. Bye bye.

        joethefatman,

        What? no additional references to penises and prostitutes?

        Oh, I grasped long ago that a few tools make an ass out of themselves from time to time.

        That is no reason for me and other sensible folks not to open carry.

          joethefatman in reply to VotingFemale. | December 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm

          You really did fail reading comprehension didn’t you? I did not say I was against open carry, what I’m against is people like OC Texas making a spectacle of themselves and causing the efforts to make open carry the law more difficult. And since you did prove that this concept is beyond your grasp, Goodbye.

          joethefatman,

          It wasn’t clear at all from your initial post at the beginning of this comment list that you support open carry and no one is a mind reader, including me.

          Perhaps if you lost that projection of pomposity we can discuss this calmly …just a thought.

          BTW, I’ll match my intellect and education against yours anytime, big boy.

I was raised in Texas, and at my grandparents’ farm, the guns were on a rack over the door to the kitchen, too high for a kid to reach without a chair, and in a place where one or more grownups would be, every minute of the day. I was taught how to shoot, although not how to maintain a gun. My father is retired military, and he has guns, which are kept in a safe. The men in my family all own guns.

I’m not sure that anybody cares much to make open carry the new rule. Openly carrying a gun IS threatening behavior, and is also an invitation to someone else who might want to take it from you. Concealed carry is therefore more polite, more restrained, and more likely to result in peaceful behavior, because others also do not know if someone is carrying.

In Texas, deputy sheriffs are some of the few people allowed to carry unconcealed weapons, and there is deep suspicion of any person who wants to become a deputy sheriff because they can carry openly. It is a bad mindset, and a sign of poor judgment. If you hear someone referred to as “Deputy Dawg,” that is the trait referred to.

Allowing the carrying of unconcealed weapons in ordinary daily settings will allow sick puppies to play mind games with normal people, and may ultimately result in tighter gun control after an unsavory incident or two.

    Clinger in reply to Valerie. | December 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I have to concur, that open carry scares a lot of people. I live in Oregon, where open carry is legal(outside of Portland and Salem).

    I am very comfortable with firearms, and have a CHL when in public. I open carry when hunting and hiking, but conceal in public.

    I myself have done a double-take when seeing another person open carrying in a store or on the street. I always look at the person’s face, determining if they look “stable”. Not afraid, but just verifying.

    As a consideration to others, I prefer to conceal-carry in public…it’s also a better “surprise” for a perp in needed.

    joethefatman in reply to Valerie. | December 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Open carry is not threatening behavior and never has been.
    And nice slant on your try at the “I’m a gun owner but” argument.
    If the sight of someone open carrying a gun causes you to suffer PSH, you might actually be the threat you’re afraid of, and therefor not worth taking seriously on this subject.

      joethefatman,

      Valerie voiced her concerns, as you have here, and likely they are concerns voiced by her family members.

      I’m glad she posted this as it opens up a debate about it.

      I don’t agree with her but dismissing her as someone not to be taken seriously only shuts down debate.

    Ragspierre in reply to Valerie. | December 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Well, THAT was certainly on of your more stupid posts, and there seem to have been a series of them lately.

    jakee308 in reply to Valerie. | December 15, 2014 at 11:24 am

    If the gun isn’t in their hands, how threatening can it be?

    It’s only those with a “guns are scary” mind set that find someone openly carrying a threat.

    Long guns are more scary than a handgun but those who do have to carry in more populated areas will usually do so in a manner that is the least threatening. (slung, cradled, bolt open or broken open and on shoulder)

    tom swift in reply to Valerie. | December 15, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Allowing the carrying of unconcealed weapons in ordinary daily settings will allow sick puppies to play mind games with normal people

    You can make the same claim about any civil right. It does not follow that the state should eliminate civil rights, “just in case” some jerk might abuse one.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Valerie. | December 15, 2014 at 11:25 am

    It is a bad mindset, and a sign of poor judgment. If you hear someone referred to as “Deputy Dawg,” that is the trait referred to.

    Oh, goodness. Maybe if you open-carry at Nieman’s in North Park Mall, but Texas ain’t all Mall and big city. Nor is it nice Hill Country drives and Austin sprawl.

    I have a ranch in far west Texas. There are only three kinds of people you’ll see there, right in the shadow of the violent, Texas-Mexico frontier: residents, tourists and bad guys. Where I stand on a mesa, just above the ranch house, I can see places in Mexico that are controlled by the drug cartels. It’s nothing to see vehicles going cross-country, on a moon-lit night, without headlights. People along the Rio Grande are occasionally shot at from the Mexican side of the river. The police in this most remote part of these here United States are 90-200 minutes response time away. We’ve (legally) open-carried long guns for years.

    I also live in Houston, where I run a business and do volunteer outreach work with a veterans’ group. There are parts of Houston – a sanctuary city – where illegal criminals, emboldened by the love of Señors 0bama y Holder, feel pretty much bullet-proof. They’ve brought the Mexico frontier mentality to the Estados Unidos. MS-13 is everywhere, as evinced by their graffiti. Honest citizens need to be able to send these people a message: “Don’t fu*k with me, vato!”

    The Texas Castle Doctrine already extends gun rights to our vehicles. No longer do you need to worry about traveling armed. Now, you just need to be able to get out of your car/truck with a holstered weapon.

    As to your “deputy dawg” comment, I’ll just say, “To each his own,” but add, “Walk a mile in my shoes, first.”

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | December 15, 2014 at 11:35 am

      One thing I didn’t mention was climate. In Houston, it’s hard to carry-concealed in the summer. Most people here dress very light-weight, casual. Getting a small concealed-carry out of a body holster or a cargo-pants pocket is not very efficient or quick. The alternative (you see a lot in Austin) is a “man purse” which pretty much says, “I’m armed”. Open-carry definitely favors causal dress.

      Also, it’s better for someone to see you’re armed and NOT do something in your presence, versus having to react to a situation. Deterrence versus response.

      That’s all.

        Some pieces are just not “concealed-carry” subjects, and the piece I would carry is one of those.

        If you see a person in Houston wearing a vest in summer, they are carrying, 10:1.

        So vests must creep ol’ Valarie out, too…

        I live in Austin and the murse-carrying dudes that come to mind would cower in fear at the mere mention of a pop-tart chewed into the shape of a gun.

        2nd Ammendment Mother in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | December 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        Ditto Trooper…. We just moved out of the borderland after 25 years (45 for my hubby) and I have to say we’ll miss it, but there is also the feeling that we’ve increased our life expectancy by several years. We’re just not the kind of people who can turn a blind eye to criminals or pay the mordida to the cartels. The things we’ve recorded on our surveillance cameras that “supposedly never happened” according to our political betters would turn your stomach.

        Still, our new place has it’s share of 4 legged and crawling predators and I don’t go farther than the next town without dropping my pistol in my bag. Rural North Central Texas is much calmer, but being stupid or a victim just isn’t in my DNA.

    people carrying hammers and other blunt objects must drive you right into the psych ward then as more homicides with them every year.
    person next to you with open carry weapon considered a threat.
    person next to you who may be concealing a weapon not a threat.
    that makes no sense.

    Valerie,

    I too was born and raised in Texas and I don’t agree with your assertions.

    ‘Sick puppies’ brandishing a firearm here in Arizona face the long arm of the law and Sheriff Joe has a long arm. 😉

    Only conversations I’ve had with folks as a result of open carrying are those who are interested enough to want to chat with me about my firearms, be it a pair of 1873 Single Action Army Colt western six-shooters or my 1911 Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced .45 caliber pistol.

Oh, Valerie. Your final paragraph is the exact same “logic” used to try and prevent the enactment of concealed carry laws in other states. It’s called the “bloodbath” argument and it has never come to fruition when CC laws are enacted. It won’t when/if Texas approves open carry.

I live in an open carry state. We have been that way since statehood. Oddly enough, almost no one carries open except during the hunting seasons, while range shooting, and when on their own property. The last reported accidental discharge during open carry I can remember was at a concealed carry class taught by two law enforcement officers on their own time. One of the student’s handguns jammed, then discharged while an officer was trying to clear the jam, wounding the student in the leg. When interviewed by the local newspaper the student said that accidents happen, that the hospital was releasing him as soon as the wound was cleaned and bandaged and that he would re-take the class as soon as it was next offered. Now that is a realistic, intelligent reaction.

    Yeah, ask Suzanna Hupp how those gun control laws worked out for her in the bloodbath of the Luby’s massacre. Had Texas law at the time not prevented her from carrying her gun into the restaurant, many lives including her parents might have been saved.

    Also, I wonder how the Lindt Cafe hostage crisis would go down in Texas, or any other state that allows carrying, concealed or open. I have a feeling that Muslim nutjob would have already met his virgins.

    Anybody who is afraid of a gun is a fool. Don’t they realize that they are CONSTANTLY around objects that could be used to kill them? Fear of inanimate objects is irrational. It’s nutty PEOPLE you need to be wary of.

How complicated could it be?

Open. Carry.

DUH!

2nd Ammendment Mother | December 15, 2014 at 11:25 am

31 states already allow some form of open carry and the world hasn’t gone off the rails.

For me Open Carry isn’t about taking my rifle to Target…. it’s driving between pastures checking on cattle and keeping an eye open for predators. Carrying a concealed firearm is a pain in the rear and can create a larger handling problem than a securely holstered and readily accessible large caliber firearm. Our pastures are not all connected, like most of our neighbors, they’re strung out along several rural remote county roads.

It also makes life simpler in certain situations. My family is competitive shooters and it’s not unusual for us to face the dilemma of leaving an expensive firearm in a vehicle while we grab some dinner or bring it in cased and set it under our table.

I’m in an open carry state (NC), plus I hold a concealed weapon permit.

The only time I open carry is to/from the long gun range and on those days I’ll sling a rifle over my shoulder if going inside a store or something. I drive a pick up and there’s no place to hide a rifle and I won’t leave it unattended. This is rural eastern NC and seeing weapons carried openly in public is common, usually deer or bear hunters. Occasionally you’ll see an older guy at Hardees with all the other seniors and he’ll have a big ol’ 911 on his hip, showing off for the blue hairs, I guess.

Open carry doesn’t bother me, though I conduct a quick assessment for any threat signals, like a previous poster mentioned. It might make a difference to me if the open carrier has a pink mohawk and swastika tattooes, but I haven’t encountered anyone worrisome yet.

I spend half the year in a part of the country where you see a lot of open carry, and after a bit, it becomes unremarkable.

    And this is what the open carry advocates are going for. It’s a basic truism of human psychology that the brain will become inured to things it might find bothersome but sees repeatedly without ill effect. This is necessary to combat the 24 X 7 X 365 demonization of the 2nd Amendment by the prog media complex.

    Bruce Hayden | December 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I spend half the year in a part of the country where you see a lot of open carry, and after a bit, it becomes unremarkable.

    Bingo…

I don’t understand this; I saw this a few months ago and thought that open carry was the law in Texas. So were these people breaking the law…?

    Ragspierre in reply to Ulises. | December 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    It is legal to open-carry long guns in Texas.

    The legislature will shortly take up the question of open-carry for handguns.

I would rather see who is carrying a firearm, however I do understand the concern.

My brother came to visit me in Montana. We were walking up to my apartment, and my brother saw another tenant with a handgun. I didn’t think anything of it, but I found it interesting that my brother mentioned it.

My brother lives in Illinois. He is not exposed to firearms as I am in Montana. He sees a firearm with tunnel vision and thinks danger.

Open or concealed carry, either are fine with me. What isn’t fine with me is any attempt by tyrants to license or otherwise infringe upon a constitutionally recognized right. Free people do not ask permission to exercise their rights.

Liberals will try to taint any OC bill with additional restrictions (new prohibited places, training requirements, etc).

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