“The specter of ‘constitutional carry’ continues to hang over the Legislature’s effort to allow the licensed open carry of handguns,” dallasnews.com pronounces. Interesting use of the word “specter.” But more than that, what? The Chipotle Ninja problem effectively scuppered Constitutional carry in the Lone Star State even before the legislative session started. In fact, it was touch-and-go on licensed open carry at the start. But now licensed open carry is a virtual done deal – with an amendment prohibiting Texas law enforcement (specifically the Austin PD) from considering open carry probable cause to Terry stop citizens. The anti-gun press reckons the amendment constitutes Constitutional carry. Check it . . .
Some have suggested that the amendment could, in effect, allow for the unlicensed open carrying of handguns: Someone openly carrying without a license — illegally — wouldn’t need to fear police questioning if they were otherwise doing no wrong.
Some? Does the Dallas paper provide one, single, solitary example of someone who holds that opinion? It does not. Although there are other news orgs promoting this perspective, this article leads me to believe that “some” people on the Dallas News’ editorial staff have an anti-firearms freedom bias.
There’s an enormous, easy-to-see difference between Constitutional Carry and licensed open carry. One requires state permission (the dictionary definition of a “privilege”) and one does not (the de facto definition of a recognized “right”). By adding this amendment, the Texas legislature is protecting a privilege.
On the positive side, licensed open carry with legal protection against police harassment’s better than no open carry, and it’s a bridge to Constitutional carry. There’s this, too . . .
State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, who offered the amendment, said Tuesday that his intent had nothing to do with unlicensed open carry. He sought to safeguard against racial profiling.
“If you see black guys with open carry, I didn’t want them stopped because they happened to be black guys exercising their right to open carry,” said Dutton, who voted against the overall open carry bill.