As has been widely reported, Texas governor-elect Greg Abbott wasted no time in letting it be known that he’ll be only too happy to sign an open carry bill that makes it to his desk. As I was making my way from the Austin airport to RF’s heavily fortified, secluded compound yesterday, I heard the local NPR station’s report on the soon-to-be Gov’s proclamation. Naturally, they counterbalanced that with a statement from a local Moms Demand Action harpy who intoned that open carry shouldn’t be considered in the Lone Star State unless and until a system of universal background checks is in place. But as a practical matter . . .

the Texas legislature enacting full-on Constitutional carry — in which anyone with a gat can gallivant around with it for all to see — is about as likely as Jessica Chastain bleaching her hair blonde. In fact, if and when an open carry bill does make it to Governor Abbott’s desk, it will almost surely allow only those who have a Texas CHL to carry conspicuously. License holders who, by definition, have already undergone a background check.

If that’s the case then, we guess the we’re-not-anti-gun types at MDA will be just fine with the new law, right?

Once Texas joins most of the rest of the country in providing for at least some kind of open carry opportunities and hipsters with hoglegs are seen strolling down 6th Street in Austin, will open carry beget more open carry? Will the sight of pistols on hips encourage more people to do the same?

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89 Responses to Question of the Day: Does Open Carry Encourage Open Carry?

  1. Not going to happen. We don’t have a super majority yet and the dem/prog/lib/socialist/traitors will block it.

      • Maybe not. But I suspect that the dems will try to kill it as payback for their losses. They can and do derail legislation all the time in our part time leg.

      • It helps, just to get it out of committee. Campus carry passed in the house, but got hung up in the senate only because in that chamber you need 2/3 to bring it to the floor to vote. Repubs have large majority in both houses, and the bill would’ve passed if it had reached the floor, but it was filibustered in the committee.

    • You do not need a super-majority. It’s been killed in committee every time, the past SEVERAL sessions, by the RINO Speaker Joe Strauss, and the democrat committee head HE APPOINTED. (That’s one of the main reasons OCT was started, as the letter writing and phone calling hadn’t worked) Pressure is already being put on local reps to not elect Joe Strauss again as he’s on par with, if not worse than, John McCain. If he’s not the house majority leader, and appointing democrats as committee heads, it’ll pass for sure.

      • However, Campus carry easily passed the house last session, and was hung up in the senate by the Dem minority using the 2/3 rule. contact new LtGov Patrick, who’ll be running the senate, and tell him to start twisting arms and scratching backs to get this done.

      • If there were a big push for Constitutional carry (would it take a court case advancing through the system?), then that vote on open carry with a permit might just happen.

        How friendly would the Texas Supreme Court be to the issue?

    • Texas should push hard for permitless open carry. Permitless open carry of long guns is already protected by the Texas Constitution.

      There is no reason to require permits when they are not required for the carry of long guns.

  2. I never see anyone open carrying anything, so I don’t have anything I can evaluate in terms of situation, location, reaction and such.
    I don’t have a gun but while discussing getting one I was advised not to open carry because I would get funny looks.
    I wonder if it speaks of inexperience, but I would love to see people casually carrying all over, with whatever they like.

      • I would love to, and I’ve been researching to that end but I’ve run up against the worst thing (or perhaps 2nd worst) in my husband. Apathy. He just doesn’t care enough to spend the money on a gun.

        • An unwilling spouse can be a boat anchor. Take him to a rental range and maybe he’ll get the bug.

        • I suggest you replace him. He obviously doesn’t care about your safety or well being.

    • Depends on where you live. I OC on occasion and I have yet to see a raised eyebrow here. Course, I live in Arizona….

      • Agreed. When people open carried in California urban areas, 911 got called. Onlookers could not believe that it was legal to openly carry a firearm. I am sure it is the same along the northeast coast. Rural areas, not so much.

    • I open carry all the time, except in jacket weather. Okay, sometimes even then. Cold don’t hurt.

      Do I get raised eyebrows? Sure. Do people scream and flee in terror? No. Are my socks soaked with the blood of dozens of murdered chillunz? Negative.

      The only thing you have to change about your mental state is having a good answer to “Why do you carry a gun?” That’s what you’ll most likely get. There have been a few threads around the interwebs about it, and I’ll even list some of my favorite responses.

      Because I wish to carry a gun.
      Because I watch the news.
      Because laws against murder ain’t bulletproof.
      Because bodyguards are expensive, just ask Shannon Watts.
      Because I work for my belongings.
      Because I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to a loved one that I could have stopped.
      Because I have a small penis.
      Instead of me giving you a clever response, let’s play a game. I’ll ask you why you *don’t* carry a gun, and the opposite of your answer is why I do. “I guess I’m just afraid that I might accidentally shoot myself.” So I carry a gun because I’m not afraid I’ll accidentally shoot myself. If you’d like, I can even take you to a shooting range and help you get more familiar with guns so you’re not afraid anymore.

      Click on my name for more, and stay safe.

      • My first answer is usually, “What gun? (with a smile and looking all around like I don’t see it)” After the mutual chuckles, I just tell the truth that I’ve carried all of my adult life and have found need of it. If they want to talk more and I have time at the moment, I explain that the right of individuals to freely bear arms being protected is the hallmark of a free people. Rarely have I encountered someone who doesn’t get it after our conversations. There have been times that I’ve ran into those same people OCing within a year of our chance conversations.

    • Depends on where you are. Until I moved to AZ, I almost never saw anyone open carry, but even in AZ most CC over OC. I do occasionally OC for a variety of reasons (usually to and from the range or gunshows anyways) but I’ve never been looked at weirdly or gotten in any confrontation. Well I take that back, only once when a OFWG Liberal came up to a pro-2a booth we had during a 4th of July celebration in the park and started screaming at us about how we were endangering the children.

  3. If it’s licensed carry, they better have a provision where you can’t be asked for ID just for carrying. If they don’t, open carrying won’t be worth the harrasment by every single LEO you come across. But I totally support Constitutional Carry. As long as Joe Strauss isn’t involved, we should get at least some sort of open carry bill on the governor’s desk next year.

    • I am in the camp of Constitutional Carry, but I would support a free and clear Open Carry with a Permit to Conceal Carry. In a pinch I’d settle for Open Carry with a CHL.

      My real beef with Texas Law is Campus/Hospital Carry and the 51% crap.

    • I think that will not be much of an issue most places. Namely, because the vast majority of Texas police support gun owners. Second, groups like OCT have made enough of an impact that most police departments have new policies so that there are not issues.
      I have seen individuals and families on normal days and not part of a demonstration carry of AR and AK rifles, so even the anti-gun crowd would prefer handguns to avoid the press.

  4. We have had open carry in the friendly state of the best food in the world to the east, and that has not made our populace, nor the crazies, go crazy with it. Almost everyone has a rifle (or two) or a shotgun on the obligatory gun rack in their pickup, many carry open holsters can be seen, and few businesses have any signs prohibiting the open carry weapons within. Our local truck stop, located on a busy through road, was robbed more times than the number of months it was open for the first year. Then the ownership trained all its clerks and all now open carry, and can you believe it, no robberies since!?!?! What a coincidence!

    Open carry is our law in Louisiana. Concealed carry is easy and inexpensive. Teachers are even encouraged to obtain concealed carry permits and bring their weapons to school in our local school.

    We look to our freedom loving “Don’t Mess with Texas” neighbors to our west for leadership in these things. I think Texas will get open carry with few incidents, and then by self-serving exhibitionists.

  5. will open carry beget more open carry? Will the sight of pistols on hips encourage more people to do the same?

    Open carry laws may promote more open carry laws, but open carry laws do not strongly promote open carry. 30 states have no-permit open carry, and this trend will grow. However, in such open carry states, the practice is generally limited to rural areas, armed guards and political demonstrations. In FL, OC is legal while fishing and hunting and going to and from.

    Open carry is legal in MA (of all places!) with a permit, but it is rarely used. Even though OC is legal, most people prefer to carry in stealth mode so they do not alarm the sheep. De gustibus non est disputandum. I know a person who accidentally flashed, was reported by a Judas Goat to the local po-po who administered a firm tongue lashing based on carelessness — but issued no citation of any kind.

    The biggest practical benefit of OC laws is that people don’t get arrested for accidentally flashing, and that’s a big deal. OC laws may also promote wider acceptance of guns, which is also a big deal.

      • @Vhyrus, there is no state preemption in MA so Boston will do what Boston wants to do. FYI, I’m always tickled that I can carry concealed in Boston but Bostonians by and large cannot. I usually carry a New York reload when I go to Boston, for the irony of it and also to cause the ultimate amount of envy from my friends.

    • In general, I don’t cotton to specific open carry laws if they can be avoided. IMHO, it’s better to simply have the right to bear arms protected in the state constitution with preemption at the state level for any laws relating to firearms. That’s the way it is in Ohio and it seems to work well. The state constitution protects the right to bear arms and Ohio Revised Code 9.68 prohibits and local infringement except limited zoning. When we have open carried into areas where local government ignores 9.68 or local officers aren’t following law, we’ve been successful at getting the officers trained and local ordinances removed (at the very least officially declared unenforceable until they can go through the long process to remove them). The only problem that I have with R.C. 9.68 is that it lacks real teeth in regards to costs and attorney fees when we challenge in court. A hefty fine or even a criminal charge might be an improvement. I believe that we now need to get the act of concealing a firearm protected as a right in the state constitution or at least remove prohibitions on the unlicensed concealing of a firearm. There is a bill moving through the Ohio legislature right now to fix the problem and still offer an optional concealed carry license for purposes of reciprocity, much like Arizona.

      http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/gp9.68

  6. Open carry is legal here in Pennsylvania and away from Pittsburgh and Philly, I’ll occasionally see someone carrying openly. There’s never been a reaction, even when my ex open carried in a thigh holster into a family restaurant minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. If you aren’t being a jerk, no one cares.

  7. Yes, but how much you see depends on where you are. I suppose that once Abbott signs the bill people will do it just because they can but will soon revert to concealed carry for normal day to day activities. But all it takes is for a few people to do it on a regular basis to remind the less than honorable segment of the populaiton that an armed citizen might be in the neighborhood.

    • There are few places in Austin that I frequent while CCing that I am certain would put up 30.06 signs the first time somebody was spotted open carrying. That alone is enough reason for me to avoid the practice.

      • A person should not live their life based on the reactions of others and perhaps you shouldn’t support a business that only accepts your expression of your rights only if it is covered up or hidden. I open carry in my home state when out in smaller communities because in the cities I would prefer to not advertise my defensive capabilities to our fine upstanding urban transplanted thugs. A lady asked one morning “Do you really need that thing.” I said maam, “I carry a gun to protect others and myself and that we all draw moral lines that shouldn’t be crossed. The important part of drawing lines maam is what happens after the threshold has been crossed, I will have a gun in my hand enforcing that line instead of a piece of chalk”.

  8. New Mexico is an open carry state has been for as long as I can remember. I first lived here in the early 70’s.
    Very seldom do folks actually open carry. Attracts too much attention and unnecessary questions my LEOs.
    I am sure that in the Lone Star State after the newness would wear off most folks would not open carry often and if the need were such for a gun than CHL would be the norm.

    • I see people OC in NM more often than anywhere else. It’s fairly popular in Las Cruces. To be clear, I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve seen do it, but I still it there. I’ve done it myself there many times actually.

  9. Joe Strauss is a RINO Quisling who will happily support the Mom’s against open carry. You can count on him to actively oppose any new pro-gun efforts.

  10. If they go to what basically amounts to licensed carry open or concealed or some combination of the two, which all indicators are pointing to, at a bare minimum I would like to see the fees and legal hurdles to get the license decreased. Its almost as expensive as a new handgun just to get your license here by the time you count your fees to the State and the money you pay for the class/ range time requirement. Would be nice if it was at least no more complicated than getting a drivers license.

  11. Open carry …… Constitutional open carry has always been the rule in the free state of Arizona and now we have constitutional concealed carry as well …. But that was a long hard fight. And we are rarely bothered by the po po. Unless they think you pointed it at some one. In the mean time I shall continue to rock my CCW and go virtually any where I want including a lot of other states.

  12. I will never open carry. Already legal here in the Peach state, but I just don’t care for anybody to know I’m packing.

  13. “…hipsters with hoglegs are seen strolling down 6th Street in Austin…”

    Drinking kind of early I see.

    • haha you beat me to it, it wont be un-cool enough for them to do.

      “Hey man, cool pistol, what kind is it?”

      “Its a Bergmann M1896, youve probably never heard of it.” (most obscure thing I could think of off the top of my head)

  14. I support open carry – but I never will OC mysef. IMHO concealed carry is far superior. Not only does it not upset those around you, someone won’t try to steal a gun they don’t know you have.

  15. Open carry will create open over reaction by the anti’s, fear for the mothers, cries of intimidation for the ACLU and others, justification for police to use deadly force, and will be cause our firearms rights to be further restricted in the long run.

    Don’t do it, don’t legalize it, don’t defend it – just makes every non-gunowner vote for gun control. Focus on making gunowner ship a responsible thing with a positive image if you want to protect your rights

    • Really? Hmmm….that hasn’t been the experience in either Wisconsin or Oklahoma, which have both gotten open carry lately. States that have had open carry for longer, like Georgia, continue to expand their firearms freedoms. “Guns everywhere!”, they shout with dire expectations, yet the freedoms keep on coming and the horror predictions don’t materalize.

      With the exception of California in the 1960s, in response to very threatening Black Panther open carrying, OC doesn’t seem to have resulted in any major backlash anywhere. States get OC, some exercise it and others don’t, and life goes on, typically toward even greater freedom.

      If anyone’s arguments should not be heeded, it’s yours. Hysterical, anti-gun speculation. All you left out were a few key cliches. “Wild wild West”, “Dodge City”, and my personal favorite, “Blood in the streets!”

      All predicted, never happened.

      • Not quite correct. The 1968 law in California banned only loaded open carry–you could still carry, but you had to be unloaded with no rounds in the firearm. But after that, nobody much bothered to carry at all. Then in 2011 or so, people started an open unloaded carry movement. By 2012, open unloaded carry of handguns was banned, and a year later, long guns. I’d characterize that as a backlash.

        • By 2012, open unloaded carry of handguns was banned,

          The state overreached, and without that ban, there would have been no Peruta case. Unintended consequences, they are a bitch.

      • Look at the reaction that the CSU San Marcos umbrella carrier got on Aug 20. SWAT was out, reverse 911 was enacted, campus was on lockdown and flyers went out to homes on how to report potential terrorist acts. He was viewed as a terrorist by many for intimidating people with his umbrella! Do we really want gunowners to be associated with terrorists?

        • If you associate open carriers with terrorists, you are the problem, not the O.C.ers. Please divest yourself of all firearms as soon as possible.

    • SurfGW,

      I disagree whole heartedly. And I will provide an example that dispels your objection.

      Due to a quirk in Michigan law, the only way that a person can legally carry a handgun into a school is if they have their concealed carry license and carry openly. Thus parents are starting to do just that. So, a local television station posted a news story on Facebook about a recent event. As far as I could see, ALL 1,600+ comments supported the parent who carried a handgun OPENLY into their child’s school. Did you catch that? As far as I could see, over 1,000 people commented on the event with UNANIMOUS support.

      This result is incredibly significant … especially when you consider that Michigan is NOT a Western or rural state. I fully expected to see about 1/3 of comments in support and 2/3 of comments against it. I never would have imagined seeing unanimous support.

      So, now you have an example where open carry elicited unprecedented support for citizens being armed in public. That kind of support does NOT lead to greater restrictions. Rather, it leads to eliminating restrictions.

    • That hasn’t happened in Ohio. Indeed, I know many who now open carry that vow to carry anyway if it is outlawed. There’s a strong base of civil disobedience growing here should that highly unlikely event happen in our legislature.

  16. In Wisconsin, school property is the problem. I have CCW so I can toe the property line open or concealed. Open Carry is allowed within 1,000 feet with a CCW but no go without.
    In urban areas, 1,000 feet land moats create overlapping circles that block legal movement and a legal area might be completely enclosed by the overlaps.
    How you might know there is a school nearly a quarter mile away is beyond me.
    How do other states void the 1K Bush rule?

    • Virginia allows you to enter school property while you are in your car if you have CHL. I don’t think they enforce the 1K rule unless a crime is committed. If they did I would be illegal once I left my property since I live within the 1k radius. I don’t think states actually have authority to enforce the 1k rule without supporting legislation since it is a federal crime and they don’t really have jurisdiction. Ralph or other attorneys is this a correct statement?

      • States might be able to arrest under a Federal law, but the Feds would have to agree to prosecute, and they usually won’t unless the offense is ancillary to other Federal charges. States have their own school zone rules. While every one of the state rules is different, the Fed GFSZA does not apply to State permit holders. Having a permit throws you into the state law, which is often more generous to us than the Fed GFSZA.

        There’s a trap there — your VA permit exempts you from the GFSZA when you are in Virginia, but if you carry in another state that recognizes your VA permit, you are not exempt in that other state by virtue of your VA permit. There’s an ATF rule on this subject. To be exempt in the other State, you would need a non-res permit from the other State.

        That’s only one of the reasons why I have several permits,

        • Thanks, for the important legal advice. Never thought about the out of state problem. When my son was in grad school in Colorado he house was next to school property.

    • In TX, a CHL holder can be on the school grounds, but not inside a building, nor at a school event even it’s outside. For example, you can jog on the school track with your gun, but you can’t attend a track meet while carrying.

    • California CCW carriers are exempt, and can carry on campus, absent a specific restriction on their license (which some but not all sheriffs impose). which is a good thing. It would be impossible to carry in any large city–and probably most of the small ones–without at least an exemption from the 1000′ rule, irrespective of campus carry. (I suspect that this is why the 1000 ‘ rule was imposed in the first place.)

    • If you have a State permit, you have an exception to the Federal GFSZA. You operate under State rules instead, and they’re usually better for us.

      Your reference to Bush is incorrect. The Bush era law was stricken as unconstitutional by SCOTUS in the Lopez case. It was replace by our dear friend, President William Jefferson “Devil in a Blue Dress” Clinton.

    • How do other states void the 1K Bush rule?

      We ignore it and carry anyway. Ohio peace officers don’t enforce that federal law so the feds would have to enforce it. Ohio law prohibits non-licensed carry on the premises. We open carry freely on the public and private property surrounding schools.

  17. It did for me.

    I usually conceal, but if I’m well dressed I’ll consider open carry. It’s one of those things that helps assuage the minds of the skittish. If I open carry while looking like a hood rat, they’re gonna be even more scared. If I’m wearing nice pants, a dress shirt, and a belt, they’re going to look more favorably. It’s not right, but that’s how it is.

    Gotta wean them onto it gently and slowly.

  18. Start emailing and calling your TX state reps and senators now. Don’t wait for the session to start in January. New bills are being written right now for submission on the first day. If you have time to post here, then you have time to email someone with an actual vote.

    Let them know this is important to you and heavily influences your support. It doesn’t matter whether you would actually open carry or if you think others will. They won’t and probably neither will you.

    Still, it’s important to expand firearms freedom every way we can and lock in those gains every chance we get. We have such a chance now. Don’t waste it.

  19. I would love to have the option, but I highly doubt that I’ll begin open carrying on a daily basis if/when it becomes legal here. The main attraction for me is having the ability to openly wear my .357 for hog protection while hunting or enjoying our beautiful East Texas parks.

    • This is a huge reason to support open carry. Handguns that are actually somewhat effective against four-legged attackers (bears, cougars, hogs) are next to impossible to conceal much less deploy quickly from concealment. That means open carry is the only effective method to be armed when outdoors and beyond city limits.

  20. The two pistols I want to open carry the most are both revilvers. One a Colt M1917 and the other, a Ruger GP100 with a 6 inch barrel. If more people open carried, I have a feeling more would start doing it.

    • That’s true. The more we open carry in Ohio, the more we find also decide to open carry. I’ve met several people on open carry walks who did not carry at all. A few months later, I have encountered them at an open carry walk openly carrying firearms. It’s not entirely uncommon to meet people open carrying who haven’t even gotten their license to conceal a handgun yet. Some chose not to get a license in protest of the 2005 licensing law.

      I really like the M1917. I was looking around for one when Ruger came out with the Talo birdshead New Vaquero in .45 ACP. I chose the stainless model. It has a 3.75″ barrel and has proven to be the perfect EDC for me. My 1911 magazines make great speed loaders for it.

  21. Everyone who’s interested should join or give money to TSRA to get this done. Also, according to my latest TSRA magazine, our new Lt Governor will be very influential in senate rules and committees, so you might want to contact him as well your own legislators. It was the senate 2/3 rule and Democrats that torpedoed big gun bills in recent sessions. Repubs are the majority, but have never been never been a supermajority.

  22. I’ve already started my e-mail barrage. I’m tired of having to wear a tent, to properly conceal my handgun, in the Texas heat.

  23. Open carry here in mo but then again I’m 3 miles from ferguson ….tomorrow the announcement comes out …..justified!!!!!

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