On January 1st, 2016, Texas House Bill 910 became law. With it a new era of gun freedom was ushered into the Lone Star State. Anyone possessing a concealed carry permit are now allowed to open carry a weapon. Some general pieces of information from the bill are:
- *Authorizes individuals to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun in the same places that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun with some exceptions. (See “Exceptions” below for more information.)
- *Unconcealed handguns, loaded or unloaded, must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster.
- *Individuals who hold a valid CHL may continue to carry with valid existing license.
The law has given the pro-gun and anti-gun lobbies an opportunity to sharpen their for or against arguments. The anti-gun crown continues to think that a society free of guns is automatically a safer one. The law abiding pro-gun citizens have mixed emotions about the new freedom that open carry allows.
Being a concealed carry permit holder, I am a firm believer in the second amendment and its application to all law abiding citizens. I also think that any criminal fears a well armed public more than the police. It is common knowledge that law enforcement response times have been increasing. According to a recent article in “tehdailysheeple.com, **the average response time is 10 minutes. Too slow, just right? The article also reports that the interaction between criminal and victim is 90 seconds. Given the gap, we are all left to protect ourselves. Guns are needed my friends.
The real question is do we need open carry. Does displaying a weapon really matter or is concealed carry the better way to go. It certainly sends a message the State of Texas is serious about gun rights. I think concealed carry is a more effective way for someone to protect themselves. Think about these three things:
- The Element of Surprise. If you are unfortunate enough to be caught in the middle of a crime, would you prefer the perpetrator to know you have a gun or not? I would definitely want the tactical advantage of them not knowing. It may give you the precious seconds you need to save your life or those of others.
- Unwanted Attention. Who wants the attention associate with walking around with a visible weapon holstered at your side. You will most certainly draw the attention of the anti-gun crowd. Who knows what type of situation you may find yourself in. If that is what you want, then open carry is for you.
- Law Enforcement. You will most certainly talk to more law enforcement representatives than you every have before or ever wished to. Outside of any legal issues that may create, think of the delays you face in something like running a simple errand.
In Texas, we are all free to make a choice to concealed carry, open carry or no carry at all. What ever you decide, be informed an think of all the possible consequences.