On January 1, 2016, people in Texas will be allowed to openly carry handguns. Police officers are concerned about the transition from carrying concealed to open. Some residents might not be aware of the new law and panic when they see people strapped with guns. Carriers themselves might be confused as well.
“I think the public has a perception that if someone is carrying a firearm openly into a shop that they will be arrested,” Houston police officer Joseph Gamaldi told the Washington Times.
Before the new law, gun owners who wanted to carry were required to obtain a permit in the shall-issue state. On January 1, gun owners with current carry permits can open-carry. Texas does not require handgun registration.
Gun owners also want to be allowed to carry their firearms in so-called gun-free zones, a policy that doesn’t stop criminals.
The police are preparing. An excerpt:
Emily Taylor, an independent program lawyer with the firearms legal defense program Texas Law Shield, said she has conducted more than 40 trainings for law enforcement agencies on the topic since the open-carry legislation was signed. Among the most frequent questions she hears from law enforcement are inquiries about how a handgun must be holstered to be in compliance with the law and when an officer can stop and require a person to display an open-carry permit.
There is also some debate across agencies as to whether officers have the right to approach anyone they see openly carrying a handgun in order to determine whether they are properly licensed. Ms. Taylor said she interprets the law to mean that officers do have that right.
Every time there’s a mass shooting, liberals push more gun control. The problem for them is the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. This is a fundamental and enumerated right. That 75 percent of the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s members oppose open carry is understandable. Police officers have a difficult and often thankless job. They know criminals will use the law to their advantage. They’re also worried that more people will take matters into their own hands.
“Now folks that are openly carrying, if they see an incident, a crime unfolding, are they going to be more prone to insert themselves now? Will they be the target now?” Chief Charles McClelland said. “I don’t know the answers to all these scenarios, but I have to prepare my officers.”
Second Amendment supporters also call for “constitutional carry,” which would allow gun owners to carry handguns openly or concealed without a permit. Seven states allow constitutional carry: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming (residents only).
Do you support the new open-carry law in Texas?
Photo credit: MMR Dad (Creative Commons) – All Rights Reserved