It was always surprising to me that it was against Texas law to open carry handguns. You could open carry rifles, but not handguns. Those had to be carried concealed.
New legislation has made the open carrying of handguns legal. Actually, bad legislation was overturned.
Hundreds of Texans celebrated by open carrying their handguns on the steps of the State Capitol. Surprisingly, no one was hurt or killed during their heavily-armed celebration. [I jest.]
I’ve written about open carry demonstrations in the past. I fully support people’s right to carry their guns out in public, whether they’re rifles or handguns. Where I part ways with them is when demonstrators are carrying their rifles for the sole purpose of getting a rise out of people, basically daring people to call the police. And then they record their encounters with law enforcement, encounters that often don’t turn out well.
For this reason, people have a certain disdain for open carriers. But things are changing in Texas. Breitbart reported:
Breitbart Texas spoke with other attendees of the rally. The attendees all said they had not received any negative feedback from passersby. “We used to get a lot of reaction when we would do our armed walks across the state,” one attendee told Breitbart Texas. “The more marches we did, the more people got used to it. It went from people flipping us off to honks of support and thumbs up.”
One man passing by on the street found himself surrounded by dozens of men and women carrying handguns, shotguns and rifles. The man, who gave his name as “Joe” said he was from California. “You would never see anything like this in my state,” Joe explained. “But I am happy to see it and fully support what they are doing.”
If people are going to get together to do an open carry demonstration, they should do it with the support of the local police. That way, when drivers pass by, they see that a cop is already there with the group of armed citizens, and people won’t be frightened.
Should passersby be frightened by armed citizens? Of course not. But that’s the reality. People have been conditioned by the media and politicians that guns are evil. The way you counteract that fear and convince people that there’s nothing to be afraid of is to show in good faith that armed citizens are in full compliance with the law, and have the support of the local police, and that they are totally peaceful individuals, in spite of how the media falsely portray them.
The armed groups at this Texas rally did just that and cleared everything with the local police. As Breitbart noted:
C.J. Grisham [founder of Open Carry Texas] confirmed that the attendees of the rally had little, if any, interaction with the law enforcement officers who were present to ensure the peace. “Before the rally,” Grisham said, “our group’s legislative director, Richard Briscoe, spoke with a Department of Public Safety trooper about the event. The trooper noticed Briscoe’s holstered handgun was not completely covered by his jacket. Rather than asking about the gun, the trooper simply replied, ‘You know you don’t have to cover that up anymore.’”
The more people see guns out in public, the better. What we need is not necessarily just more guns, but more gun-carriers. It’s really only when gun-carrying becomes a normal thing in our society that we’ll see its effect on crime.