“The [Texas permitted open carry] bill’s author, Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, dismissed any concerns about a loophole.” dallasnews.com reports. “He said the amendment [prohibiting police from using open carry as probable cause] just provided ‘clarity’ to police officials that if ‘people are being law-abiding citizens, there’s no need to interfere with their daily activity.’ Predicting that a small number of Texans would actually open carry, he said didn’t think it would be an issue.” Wait. Texas, soon to be the most populous state in the union with open carry, won’t have many open carriers? That’s what he said . . .

“It’s real easy to think about all these different circumstances that could cause alarm,” he said, reiterating that the bill makes clear the need for a license. “But at the end of the day, you are going to see very little open carry.”

Setting aside the fact that Texans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms – openly – does not depend on the number of people exercising their gun rights or arguments grounded in social utility, I think Larry’s wrong. Hear me out . . .

Texas is not gun-friendly state. Legally speaking. Look no further than the fact that this open carry bill is NOT Constitutional Carry (i.e., the freedom to carry without state registration or tax of any sort). That’s a freedom enjoyed by gun owners in Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming and soon-to-be Kansas. Texas gun owners who want to open carry must still pass a background check, take a course, pay a tax, submit fingerprints and depend on government approval.

Campus carry is still verboten in the only state to have existed under six flags (the Confederate flag is the stumper.). Texas gun owners can’t carry a firearm into an eating/drinking establishment that posts a 51% sign, where alcohol constitutes 50 percent or more of trade. A new 30.07 sign will forbid them from open carrying in some places.

Under the current regime, less than a million Texans have concealed carry permits (which will allow them to open carry come January). By contrast, Florida has 1.3 million permit holders. Alabama has the highest percentage of concealed carry permit holders; just over 12 percent of the population have received the state’s permission to carry a concealed weapon. Followed by South Dakota (also over 12 percent).

Digging deeper, just 44 percent of Texans own a gun. That doesn’t put the Lone Star State in the top five states for highest percentage of gun owners (it’s behind Alaska, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Wyoming).

Texas’s relatively gun-averse legal framework and statistically low percentage of concealed carry permit holders and gun owners comes as a surprise to many. Thanks to Hollywood, Texas has a cultural reputation for being a state of gunslingers. And here’s the thing: it’s not as misleading as you’d think.

Guns are an integral part of the state’s cultural heritage of self-reliance, a part of both myth and the existing social fabric. Gun signs and artwork are for sale in every gift store in Fredricksburg that doesn’t sell stinky candles, and many that do. Sure, that’s a tourist town. But even in my home of Austin, ground zero for Texas liberals, no one bats an eye when I tell them I run TTAG and the Texas Firearms Festival. In fact, they’ve been universally supportive.

Think about that: the people I meet don’t own guns – and support gun control – don’t freak out when I tell them that firearms are my life. We’re talking zero animus. Contrast this with my home state of Rhode Island where everyone I met who learned of my livelihood looked at me like I had pin lice in my eyebrows. I’m hear to tell you the two states are worlds apart, culturally speaking, when it comes to guns.

OK, so, will this pro-gun culture lead Texans with permits to open carry? I say yes. Yes it will. Not just because it’s damn hot here in the summer, but also because a significant portion of Texans who carry guns want to be seen as Texans openly carrying guns. They want to be seen as self-reliant. Independent. Upholders of law and order. In some ways, it’s a romantic ideal. In others, it’s simple pragmatism. Quick draw deterrence.

Seriously. It’s a self-image Western-style-meets-self-defense thing. As to what percentage of Texans with permits will open carry, I can easily see it starting at about five percent of concealed carry licensees. Say, 40k people. Once other CHL owners see people openly carrying, they’ll follow suit. (The come out, come out wherever you are school of social trends.) I predict ten percent or more will carry openly after year one. Or more.

And it won’t just be rural folks. I wouldn’t be taken aback if open carry takes off in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Maybe even or especially in marginal neighborhoods, where law-abiding citizens want to project their ability to defend themselves and the rule of law by the threat (I said it) of lethal force.

I could be wrong. I am, after all, the blogger who predicted that President Obama wouldn’t touch gun control. But since then, I’ve developed a firearms-related sixth sense. A sense of the pro-gun gestalt wherever I go. I’m telling you that Texas gun rights are coming out of hibernation, begun when the state’s armed elitists decided to disarm slaves and freed blacks.

Wishful thinking? Yes and no. Time will tell. Watch this space.

 

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67 Responses to Will Texans Open Carry?

  1. I’m going to “casual Cary” as I won’t care if my clothes cover my handgun or not. I’ll switch to leather OWB holsters, carry full sized pistols, and go about my business as usual.

    • Yes, thiss!^^^^

      I’m tired of having to always assess my surroundings like a scared rabbit if my concealed piece breaks concealment. Dressing around your gun is buillshit to an extent and those of you that say that are full of said bullshit because none of you wear a trench coat while concealing a shotgun or AR. While I don’t think you should wear skinny jeans with an IWB holster and full size pistol (or ever wear skinny jeans at all), I’m tired of having to maintain two wardrobes just to carry a gun.

      IWB is also uncomfortable, I would love to move to OWB carry but I can’t do this without printing significantly. I would carry more often with OWB. I also believe that OWB carry would suit women better. Just my opinion (I’m not a woman) but I do observe that women wear tighter pants than men which would seem uncomfortable with IWB carry.

      I do plan on buying some level 2 retention holsters.

    • This is my plan as well. Sig P226 in a leather OWB with whatever I’m wearing pulled over it.

      Should I print, I don’t care. Should the end of the barrel show, I don’t care.

      However I won’t carry with the full gun exposed intentionally.

  2. You got the sign wrong for an establishment which generates more than 50% of it’s sales from booze. That’s the 51% sign not the 30.06 sign.

  3. Since it still requires the permit, I don’t foresee a big jump in absolute numbers. But given that there was zero open carry before, any sizable number will look bigger than it is. BTW, RF, the armed elitists originally intended to disarm unreconstructed rebels, not freed blacks. But when the unreconstructed rebels re-took control of the state gov’t post-Reconstruction, they kept the disarmament in place, made it more rigid, and applied it as they saw fit. Folks who think that grabbing guns will guarantee a politically-correct egalitarian paradise should take note–but they won’t.

  4. Sure, just like Missouri and 43 other states. At and on the way to the range, in the woods, on the farm, when its really hot, and when our jacket or vest swings back or tee shirt rides up. It will make life a lot simpler for women to carry. Just sayin.
    No problemo..

    P.S. Get a retention holster.

  5. Virginia has constitutional open carry and permitted concealed. Still, the number of people who open carry is very small. I think the only benefit for Texans is that they don’t have to be so worried about printing and incidental exposure anymore. As for a win on the Constitutional level, not so much.

    • +1

      I might open carry out in the GW National Forest or in small town Virginia but for me it mostly “casual carry” in that my gun may get exposed on occasion.

      • td – I agree. The clime here in VA is quite casual and I really don’t give conceal or open much thought. This will be my first CWP summer, so I think my shirt will be un-tucked more than I am accustomed to. I have moved to a Wild Bill Concealment paddle OWB leather for my 1911 which raises the carry height and keeps it tucked into my hip more.

        • In casual conversation I have learned that even Arlington is gun friendly. However, all it takes is for one mom to ruin your day.

  6. I will open carry mowing my yard, going to the mailbox, carrying out the trash, getting in the car, because now nobody can fuss at me for openly carrying on my own property. I figure anybody suspicious driving by will move right smartly along. And I hope that it will encourage some of my neighbors who have been reticent to talk about guns to open up.

    • “I figure anybody suspicious driving by will move right smartly along.”

      And hopefully not making a note of your address to find out when you aren’t usually home.

      • There isn’t any strong data that such scenarios actually happen. What about NRA/GOA/JPFO/Glock/Ruger/S&W/etc logos, bumper stickers and whatnot. Living in an open carry state, I find such a statement to be absurd.

        Nice car in the driveway? Nice clothes?

  7. Sadly, Texas gun laws are such a reflection of decades of Democrat party rule that nothing short of a reformation will cause genuine change. Politicians are politicians, so just having a Republican dominated state government doesn’t necessarily imply the sweeping changes we might expect. Still, open carry is a good start.

    I think once open carry is institutionalized as law, things will soon settle down and we’ll see open carry as the same non-event that it is in other open carry states. This is something that gives gun-controllers fits because seeing people carrying guns will just be another routine.

    But what happens when open carry become routine? I predict that the actual instances where we’ll see people openly carrying holstered hand-guns will become fairly rare. Just because you can do it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will do it. Personally, I like the idea of open-carry because it’s symbolic of popular support for gun-rights. But, unless I have a specific reason for open-carrying, it probably won’t be a part of my daily routine because I prefer the unobtrusiveness of concealed carry.

  8. There may be parts of Tucson where open carry is more common, but overall it doesn’t seem to be, even though it is well-protected both legally and in practice in Arizona. And yet, even if one sees someone open carrying at their favorite soup and salad place only once in several years, it is very different from never seeing it, especially if one hasn’t grown up here and is not fully aware of the AZ gun culture.

    So, will the more liberal cities in Texas see open-carry break out like a rash when (and if?) the law takes effect? Unless Texans are way above average in asserting their individualism over the prevailing culture in their areas, it seems unlikely that all that many will open-carry, especially when a license is needed to do so. And yet, given the publicity this bill has had, the existence of the practice of open carry will likely be noticed even if not very widely exercised. So, it will be an important change from a social standpoint no matter what. Pass this bill already!

    • Simple answer – Austin. Complex answer – Texas is a victim of it’s own success. With a bullish economy and seemingly boundless job opportunities, Texas has drawn in a younger more liberal crowd.

      • It’s a bit more complex than that. Texas was a pretty reliable Democratic stronghold for more than a century, only shifting to more conservative politics in the last 30 years or so. The natural inertia of government bureaucracies, coupled with Texas only having 140 days every two years where the legislature is convened means that it’s taking a long time to undo the damage done by decades of Democrat leadership. The recent demographic changes you allude to have also contributed, by slowing down the much-needed repairs even more.

    • You’ll see Texas leading the way on 2A come 1-20-17, when President Cruz gives his first inaugural address.

      • You might want to share your peyote. Cruz will never become President as a Republican. And he was meeting with gay activists either this morning or last night – he’s going to throw his redneck base under the bus.

  9. I think you need to keep in mind that Texas was not solidly red state until the 1990’s.
    I still shudder at the memory of that hag Anne Richards.

    • TX is still not solid red. With liberal enclaves like Austin and a constant influx of Mexicans from the south (who are voting Democrat, rest assured), it’s likely as not TX will turn blue again within the next couple election cycles.

      • Are hispanics consistent D-voters? I was under the impression they can go either way, depending on whether welfare comes before family values?

        (Also, you should court us Asians. We, too, have a history and culture of self-reliance, and many of us also have warrior traditions and can easily see the connection between “martial arts” and “learning to gun”. Just gotta convince us that the welfare isn’t worth it, because we’re almost certainly guaranteed to put more money in than we get out.)

        • That’s one thing I don’t understand either. I always figured Latinos would lean more conservative even more so than whites. The democratic party is mighty skilled at tricking people into voting for things they don’t believe in though.

      • Yup. Good to see that at least one person here gets it.

        But the other side of the coin is that not all Democrats are 100% anti gun. Quite a few want to keep guns away from dangerous ammosexuals with felony convictions, which is pretty much all the white supremacist/militia/open carry T County types.

        But more and more black folks and Latin folks are arming themselves. They see a day when the Zombie Apocalypse will be a bunch of out of work rednecks attacking them and they are getting prepared to fight back.

  10. One of the reason chl’s are so low here is the motorist protection act. Texans can carry pretty much everywhere while in their car. What it comes down to is proof we are carrying anyway. The average person only interacts with law enforcement while in their car. So, unless you have to shoot someone inside some place it will never be an issue. If you do though the grand jury will more than likely no bill the use of a firearm to stop the commission of a felony.

  11. Well, I for one don’t plan on carrying openly to make any sort of statement and will continue to keep it hidden underneath my coyote brown 5.11 pants, Glock t-shirt, Oakley sunglasses, OD green shemagh, desert combat boots and multicam ballcap adorned with a big Don’t Tread on Me velcro patch. Got to stay grey, you know.

    • You might want to see a doctor about that OD green smegma… wait, what? That’s not what he said? Oh, never mind.

    • Oakley sunglasses? How do those say “armed” anymore than they say “surfer” or biker”? Now Wiley x I coild maybe understand.

      Also I’m tired of people saying concealed carry is a tactical advantage. It is not always. Why do cops open carry or soldiers?

      The first rule of gun fighting is to avoid a gun fight. It’s much safer than trying to win one.
      A criminal attack goes through the “interview” phase. This is where the perp desires if the victimn is a good candidate. For example is he worth robbing? Does he or she have jewelry that might sell for a lot of money like a rolex or cheap costume jewelry? Does he/ she look likely to put up a fight or submit? Is he a big burly biker or and old woman with a walker? And of course does the victim look likely to be armed. IF a perspective victim “fails” the interview then the perp will try to find somebody else. Im pretty sure open carry is going to be an automatic fail for 99.99% of violent criminals. Yes there are a few determined criminals who don’t care or are too stupid or high to realize the person is armed, but those few are much less common in real life. Your more likely to be hurt by a scared punk who thought you where an easy mark and gets spooked than some cold blooded super badass or some Jason type
      Psycho killer that will take on an armed man or woman.
      Just as we talk a lot about aviodance as a tactic, I.e. Staying away from dangerouse situations. Open carry is another type of avoidance.
      Now open carry my not be a practical solution for an office worker or a salesman.
      But somebody like me who does roadside rescue type calls ( I own a mobil locksmith company) can benefit from deference. Also IWB carry for people who work with tools and are physical at work can be very uncomfortable. And for somebody like me who spends most of his day driving, a shoulder holster starts making sense.

      • More so than any tactical advantage, the way I carry has more to do with how I present myself for my job than anything else. I work in the corporate world and since that involves meeting a lot of people for the first time, I don’t want the gun to be a distracting feature from the business at hand. I can’t carry at my job anyway right now. But still.

        To the other point, the gun helps send a message to potential assailants, but situational awareness and how you carry yourself can work pretty well too.

        People tell me that even though I’m dressed very nicely and I wear a nice watch, I look like I have Don’t F with me written on my forehead when I walk downtown.

        Unless I run into some gorgeous young ladies that is. Then I soften up…. This is probably the perfect time to attack…. Hmmm what to do?

  12. I don’t see a ton of people OCing regularly. For one, you have to have a carry permit to carry concealed or open (if the law is passed), and while it SEEMS like there’s a lot of people with carry permits, the percentage is pretty low. Of those, most already have a system that works and they aren’t going to alter that system because they’re used to it and like it. The ones that are left are probably only going to OC once in a while. So I don’t see open carry being a common thing.

  13. When Florida finally gets open carry again, I will certainly make use of it. Maybe not every day, but I will be out and about doing so.

  14. If campus carry passes, I will definitely start carrying every day, but probably more “casual carry” (like the first commenter) rather than true open. As it stands now, I only carry my Shield in a pocket holster when I’m not at work. And sitting at a desk all day, hip carry doesn’t work all that well anyway. Not sure my body shape will allow comfortable appendix carry, but steadily losing weight will get me there (got a long way to go to catch Nick though).

    Wonder if I can find a nice shoulder holster? Or maybe a low thigh rig!

  15. Here in Ohio I’ve only seen OC twice, barring gun shops and gun shows, in 40+ years. I’ve lived in city, suburban and rural areas. I’m not shocked by it as much as surprised by it. I OC when I can and I’ve never seen a dirty look.

  16. I only say open carry in liberal, urban areas of Virginia, one of the first states to restart the open carry movement. I OC’d and saw others OC from time to time in Fairfax county and near DC only. Rural areas I only saw one other person OC besides me in many years.

  17. There is one related thing that I am sure about… If people see other people open carrying, they will tend to open carry too. To those who live in an area and they don’t see people open carrying after it becomes legal, open carry. You may not realize how many that will open carry, even casual half-assed concealed carry, after seeing you going about your business bearing arms openly. When the public bears arms openly, it helps protect the right to keep and bear arms.

  18. Probably a fair number will initially, and them some more, but after that it will sharply drop off as the novelty wears off.

    I know I will, but mainly because I have a somewhat…dolled up decorative grip to induce maximum cognitive dissonance in antis.

    At the same time, I’d still conceal carry in many other settings. See, I like going out to eat, and at restaurants that don’t have over 51%, I don’t want someone calling the cops on me or an overzealous cop stopping me because I’m sipping on a single glass of wine or beer while packing a big iron on my hip (because the law, as I understand, is that you are allowed to carry as long as you are not “intoxicated”, but it’s up to individual discretion what counts as “intoxicated”).

  19. I have no desire to OC. I am glad that things are moving towards more freedom, but I will stick with CC.

  20. I will be one to open carry. I live between Dallas and FtWorth. I plan to be dress nice and alway be a positive force for freedom.

  21. (the Confederate flag is the stumper.).

    See 1861 – 1865 😉

    I’m going to OC quite a bit, especially during the summer. My Scorpion 1911 is anxiously waiting.

  22. It depends, will Texas who want open carry ever give up? If they will then they won’t get open carry.

  23. I want to see the Pink Pistols open carry in Austin’s Gay Pride parade. I love the way the mere existence of the Pink Pistols messes with anti-gunners’ heads; seeing some of their favorite minority doing their least favorite thing would definitely put some camera-worthy expressions on faces.

  24. I’ll probably do it some, especially at first, or at least casual carry, but now I need to learn about the world of retention holsters. That would be a good subject for a post in the beginners series.

  25. My wife will be happy that I will tuck my shirt in now. She loved the fact I was packing, but hated the shirt out unless it was a shirt with a squared tail. I hope she will join me in the OC life since on body concealed carry was always a problem.

  26. In Wisconsin, the thousand foot rule for schools without a CCW is a real inhibitor but otherwise you can OC with a CCW. That said I don’t see much if any OC in Wisconsin. State Parks is my scenario for OC because I can then carry my XD40 in a comfortable holster rather my Shield in the IWB Infidel.

  27. Pennsylvania has open carry without a permit except in Philadelphia.

    In Philadelphia, open carry requires a LTCF.

    Nobody much bothers to open carry except at 2A events.

  28. Better question is: Will more refugees flee their failed states and flock to Texas, only to crap on the state and proceed to tell us what’s what and how everywhere else is sooooo muuuuch better than Texas?

    Then go there! Nobody invited you here in the first place, ya carpetbagger!

  29. Let those who want to carry openly do so.

    My .38 will stay in my trouser pocket. It’s comfortable there. I’m comfortable with it there.

  30. 12% of the folks in south dakota have permits. What does that add up too? 15-20 people? Texas has 26 million people. 44% of that is many times more than the entire population of SD.

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