It looks as if the folks at Open Carry Texas may finally get what they wanted – and not get what they wanted at the same time.
For quite some time now, gun activists have been putting on demonstration after demonstration across the state, demanding legislation be passed to allow the open carry and display of handguns without a license of any kind. One of their leaders, Kory Watkins, even went so far as to suggest that lawmakers who would deny them this perceived 2nd Amendment right were traitors and should be executed for this alleged transgression.
Now it looks like Texas will allow people to open carry, but the Open Carry Texas nuts aren’t going to be happy even if Governor Abbott signs this legislation into law.
A bill lifting some of the state’s restrictions on handguns cleared the Texas Senate along a party line vote of 20 to 11 Monday.
Senate Bill 17, from state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, would allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry holstered handguns openly. It is the first measure to come to the Senate floor not related to Gov. Greg Abbott‘s emergency items.
“In other states that have taken this step … it’s been deemed pretty much a non-event,” Estes told his colleagues as he introduced the legislation. “We have searched really hard far and wide for problems, and we haven’t found any.” (Source)
Here’s the thing, I still think the open carry of a weapon is stupid and it’s also a form of intimidation. Most other states currently allow for the open carry of handguns, both with and without a license, with the exception of Texas, California, New York, Florida, Illinois and South Carolina. Some of these states also have their laws written to protect concealed carry permit holders who accidentally expose a weapon from arrest and prosecution.
However, what many open carry activists want goes beyond common sense gun rights and headlong into unregulated, potentially dangerous territory. As it stands in Texas and other states right now, you have to undergo a criminal background check and a gun safety course (often taught by NRA-licensed instructors) in order to obtain a concealed carry license. If you just came to the conclusion that the NRA has a vested interest in not allowing people to carry guns around without a license, you might be right. Currently under Texas law, Kory Watkins and other members of Open Carry Texas do not qualify for a license due to their criminal histories, which is why they want unlicensed carry to begin with.
While the NRA has poured gas on the flames of paranoia and hinted over and over again that President Obama is planning to find a way to seize guns, they also don’t smoke their own product (so to speak) and know that losing revenue from certifications is not in their best interests. In other words, the people who run the NRA aren’t stupid and paranoid, but they’re certainly catering to angry, racist people who are in order to sell memberships and advertising.
Based on my experience with Open Carry Texas, they’re not going to be too thrilled with the passage of this law which certainly makes a lot more sense than allowing thugs like Kory Watkins and his friends to carry handguns in public. It’s also worth pointing out that this is a law that both responsible gun owners and the NRA can agree on, while shutting out the demands of the crazies. Now if only we could find a way to formally pit the NRA against Open Carry Texas. Just imagine the fireworks.
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