Tags: Gun Rights | texas | open | carry | law

Texas On Verge of Passing Open Carry Law

By    |   Saturday, 18 Apr 2015 11:24 AM

Texas on Friday came one step closer to allowing its citizens to carry handguns openly, with the state's House of Representatives voting 96-35 to allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons in public in holsters.

A similar measure passed the Senate in March, reports The Wall Street Journal, and after the two bills are squared, they'll likely be signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said he supports the idea.

The Lone Star State has a reputation of being permissive when it comes to firearms, but the fact is that it is one of six states, including California, New York, Florida, Illinois, and South Carolina that ban openly carrying handguns. Instead, people who want to have the weapons in public must have concealed-carry permits and keep them hidden.

Texans are allowed now, however, to carry long guns in public, a distinction that has spurred protests from gun-rights groups.

The House is also expected to pass a measure allowing some students and employees to carry concealed handguns on the state's college campus, mirroring a bill the Senate passed last month. Abbott also supports that idea.

If the campus-carry law passes, it will make Texas one of only eight states in the country that will allow guns on college campuses, and gun-rights advocates are cheering the emerging legislation.

“We are seeing historic progress in Texas,” said Terry Holcomb Sr., executive director of Texas Carry, a gun-rights group, told the Wall Street Journal. He pointed out that open-carry legislation never made it out of statehouse committees before this year.

However, many Texans are not happy about the changing laws. In February, a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll revealed that 45 percent of the state's voters say handguns should remain concealed, and 32 percent support open carry laws. The respondents were almost evenly split on the matter of campus carry laws.

The state's police chiefs are also "nervous about the idea of introducing any form of weapon to school campuses," said Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix, who chairs the Texas Police Chiefs Association's legislative committee.

The group polled its members this year, and while the chiefs weren't asked their opinion on campus carry laws, 75 percent of them did oppose open-carry laws.

Gun control advocates are also complaining that the GOP-controlled state legislature is "turning their backs on the majority of Texans to cater to a narrow special-interest group," said Alexandra Chasse, a Texas member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

But proponents say the laws have been a long time coming and will increase the public's safety.

“The most dangerous place in the country is a gun-free zone,” Republican state Rep. Allen Fletcher, who wrote the House campus-carry bill, told The Wall Street Journal.

According to that legislation, gun owners with a handgun license would be allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus, so long as they are at least either 21 years old or on active military duty. The state's private colleges, though, may still ban weapons on their campuses, the bill says.

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Texas on Friday came one step closer to allowing its citizens to carry handguns openly, with the state's House of Representatives voting 96-35 to allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons in public in holsters. A similar measure passed the Senate in March, reports...
texas, open, carry, law
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2015-24-18
Saturday, 18 Apr 2015 11:24 AM
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