Houston METRO riders (courtesy houstonchronicle.com)

Starting with the new year and changes to state law, Houston METRO bus lines and light rail lines will allow passengers to exercise their civil rights by openly carrying a handgun. That’s great news, and not just for Houston’s METRO passengers. It’s great news for civil rights and for the supporters of the 2nd amendment. And it’s particularly great news because it is Houston . . .

I don’t know how many of you have ever taken the METRO lines in Houston, but its about as far away from a bunch of OFWGs as you can get. If you are a white male riding a downtown metro line, you will almost certainly be a minority in that car. And that’s because Houston is one of the great melting pots of our nation. For hundreds of thousands of people, it is the front door of America.

Being a proud Texas son, I am very familiar with the caricature of Texans to most of our nation and the world at large. Giant rich white people driving their pickups to survey their oil fields. And then they get to Houston, where its pretty hard to find that person. Houston is a minority-majority population. White people are now well under 50% of the population. A full 40% of the population speaks a language other than English. And for more than 40 years, since the fall of Saigon, Houston has been a key city for the resettlement of refugees. They’ve come from all over the world, including countries in Central America, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Burma, Myanmar, and many others.

Those people also disproportionally ride the METRO lines. These are people who come from countries and communities where the gun is often criminalized, and worn only by the criminal and the oppressor. By any factual measure, those with concealed carry permits in the state of Texas are far more responsible and law abiding than the rest of the population. And now these people, who are so used to being afraid of guns — some for good reason — will begin to see law abiding, responsible gun owners sitting right next to them.

They will see their friends and neighbors tooled up, ready to protect themselves, their families, and the other people in those seats. They’ll have conversations about “is that legal?” And they will find out that here, in America, it’s one of our protected and sacred rights. Like so many advances in our civil rights as Americans, fear will be replaced by acceptance, and then an eagerness to participate in the expression of those rights.

Sure, there will be people sitting next to someone legally carrying a gun who will call on law enforcement and then politicians to take those guns away. But that’s not going to work. Even so, I’m willing to bet that for every person who demands a gun owner’s rights be taken away, there will be five more that will start exercising their Second Amendment right to the fullest. So if you’re in Houston and riding the METRO, go OWB and strike up a polite conversation. There’s nothing like the zeal of a convert, and these new Americans, and new gun owners, will be the future of the American civil rights movement.

39 Responses to Houston METRO Open Carry is a Great Thing for Gun Rights

  1. That is great news. I’d generally prefer CCW for that type of setting, but OC does better serve to stimulate conversations. Conversations lead to conversions, and a strengthening of our civil liberties.

  2. There’s already open carry on the New York City subways. It works like this: you sit down, a guy shows you the gun in his waistband and you give him your wallet.

    I don’t think the same thing will be happening in Houston.

  3. I wish you well, Texans. I pray Houston will continue to be a shining example of an armed and polite society. Chicago politicians will hate you for that.

    Also, I do hope retention is the major factor in your holster choices. Packed in like sardines on public transport while open carrying might prove enticing to the criminal element.

    Carry on!

    • I still contend that the probability of someone attempting to grab an open carried pistol diminish significantly as the number of open carried pistols in the vicinity increase. If you are the “only one”, watch your situational awareness. If you see others, give them a nod and a smile so they know you have their back(s). Anyone who tries a grab in those scenarios is looking for “suicide by OC”.

      What we need to see is a discussion about or a video from STB410 as to the best, safest ammunition to carry in those situations to best minimize over-penetration of BG, ricochets, or shoot-through of safety glass windows or flimsy vehicle sheet metal. Collateral damage to innocents is my greatest concern in these situations, not fear of gun grabs.

    • “I do hope retention is the major factor in your holster choices.”

      Indeed.

      I got into a ‘discussion’ with an anti down here about open carry and she pulled the ‘ole “someone will just take it from you” line.

      Then I explained (well, as well as one can to a narrow-minded anti) what a retention holster was and that they are pretty much standard issue for cops.

      She just gave me a blank look and didn’t say anything.

      It warmed my heart… 🙂

    • Houston buses actually have individual seats, sized with the typical Houstonian’s abundant behind in mind (whether old and white, or other). It’s not exactly luxury, but it’s not a Roman galley ship, either. Think of it more like Southwest Airlines, than a NYC subway. There’s basically enough room for people to preserve their personal space, as everyone’s seated and it’s very rare for anyone to stand. So it shouldn’t be too much of a problem from that standpoint.

  4. I think the problem is that too many people vote for the president but forget to vote where they live. Local policies ( ordinance and municipality ) tend to impact your rights much harder than federal law or state law. The big cities out here in Texas regularly pass ( and enforce ) local laws that are not even valid in the state of Texas. Speaking from experience having lived in both Austin and Houston.

    • ” Local policies ( ordinance and municipality ) tend to impact your rights much harder than federal law or state law. “

      An excellent point.

      But, that’s not the way the Progressives want it done. They want everything done and decided by the strong central authority.

    • In this regard, from the voter pamphlets I’ve seen, the biggest problem is that everyone who cares to know does know where the POTUS, Senate and H of R candidates stand, and what party they are affiliated to.

      In the local contests it is difficult to get clear information as to the stand of the candidates unless you are diligent in your research or active in the campaigns. Hell, most of the mailers I’ve seen you have to look at the very tiny small print at the bottom corner of the back of the piece just to discover which political party the candidate purports to belong to!

      And then there’s the issue of the far too many elected offices that are on the ballot as “non-partisan”. Unless I am in the profession or know someone who is, how do I vote for a judge or even a dog-catcher if I do not know where he stands politically? Ridiculous.

      • In an ideal world, wouldn’t all political office be non-partisan? We would have to vote for people based on their actual position and not just the letter at the end of their name. Parties are great for collecting like-minded groups, but they can have major gaps.

        I still have fond memories of watching the mayoral election in my college town go to the candidate who smeared his opponent as a RINO (first time I heard the term). What the voters would have learned had they maintained the non-partisanship of the election is that the smeared candidate (who ran on platform and refused to retaliate) was the more conservative option.

  5. Of course it should not matter in an ideal world … and I am going to say it anyway. Please dress nicely when you are out in public carrying a handgun openly. Like it or not, you are an ambassador in our efforts to protect and expand our right to keep and bear arms. That being the case, projecting the best image possible will help our cause. Projecting an awful image will NOT help our cause.

    Sure, rabid gun-grabbers won’t feel the love no matter how nice you look. Guess what? We are not concerned with them. We want to win the hearts and minds of people in the middle. And people in the middle will have a hard time identifying with someone who looks like a slob. Subconsciously, they will wonder if the slob’s mental status is as messed up as their appearance. Over time, people in the middle will begin to associate firearms with being in mental disarray. On the other hand, look sharp and people in the middle will subconsciously conclude that that sharp looking man/woman really has their act together — including carrying a firearm for personal protection. Thus, people in the middle will begin to associate firearms with having one’s act together.

    In the big scheme of things, the amount of effort it takes to look nice in public while carrying openly is basically nothing. And yet the payback is public acceptance of our right to keep and bear arms. That makes it well worth the minuscule effort in my book.

    • +1

      Dress for success. I recommend something frilly in gray chiffon with matching pumps, a single strand of pearls and a small Prada clutch. 🙂

    • While I don’t disagree with your premise, my guess is those who understand their roles as ambassadors are already dressing to show respect for themselves and others. Those who already dress like slobs aren’t going to change.

    • should I go with the seersucker or the pinstripe suit with my drop thigh holster? maybe just a nice pair of blue pants, a white shirt and a black vest..

    • IMHO the Punisher T-shirt and black cargo pants with a nylon drop-thigh holster and a nickel-plated or stainless .45 1911 might not be the best fashion choice. YMMV.

    • Usually I’m of the “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” school of thought; but I’m with you on this one.

      A middle-aged guy’s burning desire may well be to become a Navy SEAL; but let’s face it: that combat rubber raiding craft has sailed. So 86 the kitted up look when you OC, don your best pleated cotton Dockers, hop on the bus to your real life, and do your part to normalize self-defense firearms.

  6. This is a great experiment for the nation. I expect the Metro to be one if not the safest public transit system in the US.

    • An article in the local media this week reported that METRO records an average of 52 assaults per year on just their drivers. That’s not counting passenger-on-passenger encounters or incidents at the bus stops.

      Now, not all events rise to the deadly force justification level, of course, but still, the bus and light rail system definitely has a long way to go until they’re safe.

  7. “They will see their friends and neighbors tooled up, ready to protect themselves, their families, and the other people in those seats.”

    More likely, they’ll obey the unwritten rules of big-city public transportation and avoid looking at or otherwise engaging anyone else in any way, and never notice the gun. I can’t speak for Houston, but in every city that I’ve ever ridden the trains or buses, everybody has their head down, dicking with their phones or listening to music. Most days, you could lug a Mosin-Nagant with bayonet fixed onto the train, and as long as you didn’t poke somebody, nobody would notice.

    • And speaking of looking up, if you do open carry on public transport, PLEASE do not do so with your nose buried in your Smart Phone!

  8. Its a fanciful notion that people who are being paid to come here, will embrace American culture and independence. A German Shepard does not become a Siberian Husky just because it moved to Russia.

    The fact that 40% speak a language other than English is all the proof you need that America is dying. America and Americanism is nothing if not shared language, culture and customs.

    This failure to assimilate is precisely what the founders warned against. They were well aware of the failures of Roman Republic and yet here we are, repeating the same mistakes.

  9. You’ve identified the problem, you’re riding a city bus. Now, you just need to figure out a way to get your own vehicle and stop taking the bus. City busses are like rolling cellblocks and mental wards.

    • Bull.

      Depends on the city and the bus.

      Years ago, when I lived in Denver, I rode the bus to work. I actually lived in Aurora and worked downtown Denver, and I HATED then (and still do) driving in ‘big city traffic.’

      They had affordable bus passes for the Express buses from Park n Ride locations (one was two blocks from my apt…could walk to it). It was a REALLY good deal.

      Saved a TON of money, wear and tear on my vehicle, and I got a heap ton of work done on the ride home so I didn’t have to do the extra 3-4 hours at home once I got there.

      Context is everything. Absolute statements like yours are the kind of one dimensional thinking the Proggies do that have gotten into the kinds of messes we face these days.

      Finally, “work at home” and you don’t even need a personal vehicle in many cases, that’s an alternative that flies in the face of your thesis as well.

      • Buses have become the new homeless shelters. It’s even worse with expanded night lines and 24 hour routes.

        I suggest you look up “Hotel 22”.

        The Denver bus system is full of a bunch of couch surfing pot heads who stink like patchouli and weed.

        Now, if you want real entertainment, you take a SEPTA bus in Philly or the any line that touches the city. It’s a sure thing that you’ll see some junkie nupping and another person soaked in their own urine.

        Like I said, busses are for people who don’t have an option besides taking the bus.

        • So, a bunch of mindless drivel that ignores the countless numbers of professionals that use, and pay directly to use, the bus system.

          Got it.

  10. While I am generally gratified to hear of this, honesty compels me to admit that I probably never will OC any time soon. Besides the obvious strategic differences (note I did NOT say disadvantages), the point about being presentable is a valid one. I’m a middle-aged, fat, ugly white guy with next to no sense of style when it comes to dress. Indeed, probably the dressiest part of me I ever wear is my Ken Null horsehide belt and Gibraltar OWB holster with a Smith M&P40 compact tucked into it.. One looks at it and completely understands how some folks can carry a nice S&W with slacks or jeans, a white shirt and a Stetson, and others just can’t quite pull it off.

    So, while I try not to be a slob, please don’t diss me for dressing casually at times, because even in cheap $7 FTL shorts from Walmart and matching T-shirt you’d still not notice that I’ve got a Ruger LCP in my right pocket unless I sat down a few feet from you and even then only if you knew what you were looking for. And maybe someday I just might spring for proper boots, a Stetson, and OC something, hopefully a nice revolver or 1911. But in no case will anyone ever have the nerve to give me lip about being a slob. Ugly, yes, slob no. That is all.

    Tom

  11. Another benefit, completely different but not to be overlooked, you do NOT have to change your situation because part of your daily routine blocks what you’d like to do. For instance, let’s imagine that HoustonMetro had banned OC. People living in Houston who depend on Metro would have to CC for at least that part of the day, meaning wear a jacket (possibly) for part of the day. In the summer, that would discourage ANY kind of carry. So it’s very good that Metro lets people open carry.

    It’s a milder version of the point made where guns are banned in various places (prominent example being Illinois)…you end up having to leave the thing at home because it’s verboten in ONE place out of half a dozen that you’re going to that day.

  12. I’d just like to point out meanwhile in Chicago where the CTA is one of the places you’re more likely to need your guns you’re not allowed to carry them. That is all.

  13. I only ride METRO on two occasions:

    1.) Jury duty – You can ride for free by showing your summons. It’s very convenient to park at the nearest suburban Park & Ride location, then ride the bus downtown to the courthouse. However, OC or CC, you can’t carry once you get to the courthouse, anyway. So this doesn’t change anything.

    2.) The zoo – About once every other year or so, we’ll play hooky and go to the Houston Zoo. Same Park & Ride plan plays out with that, plus a two mile jaunt on the light rail. If you’ve been reading your TTAG, you know that the Houston Zoo has recently been forced to comply with state law and yank down their no-guns signs. That combined with this bus development is good news for gun toting, mass transit riding, zoo-goers.

  14. You have to be nuts to OC a gun with the moonbat morons out there just itching to call 911 and SWAT you. They have already admitted their plan is to call in on every open carrier they spot. Have fun stopping every 20 minutes and holding your hands up high while a cop quizzes your intentions. Or worse you get the wrong cop who decides to shoot first and ask questions later about “a crazy guy in the store with a gun.” The theory of legal OC is great, but how many legal carriers will get shot at the hands of moonbat liberals dialing 911?

    Sometimes practicality trumps theory.

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