On January first, Texans with a concealed carry permit will be able to open carry. But will they? Some, like your author, will. They’ll see open carry as a deterrent, a political statement and/or a more convenient way to carry a firearm in the Satanic Texas heat. Some won’t. Most won’t. It’s too much of a thing. Open Carry draws attention to an armed American. Sets them apart from the herd. And let’s face it: most people don’t want to stand out. On the other hand . . .

If any state in these here United is characterized by its collective belief in rugged individualism, it’s Texas. And nothing proclaims personal sovereignty against collectivist command and control more than an openly worn personal firearm. In that sense, open carry fits the Texas ethos like a glove on a bull rider’s hand.

That said, I wonder if the Lone Star State’s reputation as the home of the rugged individual is simply a romantic ideal, a PR-friendly relic of days gone by. Now that the state has embraced modernity (i.e. air conditioning) and social change (Houston is America’s melting pot) is it just paying lip service to the cowboy-centric myth of personal independence and accountability?

We shall see. Not straight away. Maybe not even until Texas finally adopts Constitutional Carry. But the video above, where Houston law enforcement officers are seen working to adapt to licensed open carry, gives me hope. Hope that Texans will open carry. A sign that America hasn’t lost the core values that made it great.

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80 Responses to Question of the Day: Will Texans Open Carry After January 1?

  1. IMO it is critical that Texans OC beginning 1 Jan 16. OCT created a lot of press – mostly good, some controversial – in achieving the legislative goal. Now, for the follow-through.

    I think that a celebratory phase of OC should occur throughout Jan 16 with most people with CWPs carrying. But, that can’t be sustained; inevitably, it will taper-off. A reasonable expectation for the following months will be that in every precinct someone going about her business will observe 1 or 2 people OC in the public square. That’s all it will take to sustain the achievement.

    OC will become as normalized an experience as waring a hat. Not everyone does it; but, it’s not remarkable. Becoming not-remarkable is the achievement.

    • No, OCT nearly got the whole thing derailed. They acted like a bunch of jackasses. They terrorized a Democrat legislator, which made every Republican look bad (remember, to the media, only “evil Republicans” own guns), and stomped around Chipotle restaurants scaring Sally Soccermoms who vote. With those sorts of “friends” who needs enemies?

  2. I am planning a shopping trip, to look for a cowboy rig to wear for special occasions. Regular OC? I doubt I’ll take it up under any circumstances I can currently imagine.

  3. Robert I will still CC most of the time. I have a really comfortable CC set-up that works well. But I will definitely OC occasionally. I want folks in my area to get comfortable with with seeing regular, non-LEO, folks with a visible firearm.

  4. Normal is what everyone else is and you are not.
    What comes before open carrying of firearms being seen as normal in Texas?
    Horror. OMG a GUN!
    Unjustified harassment.
    Lawsuits.
    Change.
    Acceptance.
    How long that takes depends on how many people open carry and comport themselves well while doing it. But I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

  5. Well, living in Houston I am not planning on it. I don’t think the attention it will draw here will be worth it. I will however move from an IWB to OWB, and be less concerned about it showing, and that extra comfort will be nice.

    • The flexibility to wear OWB and not be concerned about tiptoeing a fine line between unintentional and deliberate exposure is the biggest benefit, in my opinion.

      Personally, I prefer concealed carry, but IWB is a PITA. This gives a lot of flexibility for carry options, and the less hassle there is getting your holster on and situated, the more likely you are to carry, thus more likely to be carrying if/when the need arises.

    • yep, i’ve said many times that what excites me about OC is the big quality of life change for CHL holders. I’ll probably do the OWB thing myself, now that I don’t have to care about keeping completely hidden.

    • I live in a state where “OC” is legal for permit holders. I don’t see very many people open carrying The huge benefit is if you accidently show your gun, (say reaching above your head getting something off a high shelf at the store) you aren’t automatically guilty of a crime if some liberal tree-hugging anti-gun nut gets frightened/offended, because she/he saw the tip of your barrel poke out under your shirt. Or if my wife is wearing a tighter shirt and prints she isn’t guilty of brandishing a weapon.

    • Same. OC would have me worried about retention issues in crowds, people behind me, etc. Not having to worry as much about which shirt I wear to avoid printing & accidental exposure will be a blessing

      • We PotG ought to STOP thinking about OC in terms of: – combat tactics.
        Instead, we ought to START thinking about OC for: – political strategy.

        We are apt to be of different schools-of-thought regarding the combat tactics of OC. We are, after all, very different people. Some of us have considerable training in guarding an OC gun; e.g., police or military. Others do not and would not acquire the skills and habits. All of this is very well. Different tactics for different folks.

        Let’s look at those who do not and would not acquire the skills and habits. Should these people NEVER OC? How about at an OC Gun-Rights parade or demonstration. Couldn’t these people OC in a parade/demonstration surrounded by other better trained and habituated OCiers? How about when walking the dog on a pleasant evening? Shouldn’t we imagine that these untrained people would have enough situational awareness to control their gun if a stranger approached them on the path?

        In my mind, what OC gives the Gun-Rights movement that can’t be otherwise obtained is an immunization of society to civilian guns in the public square. The ideal state I’m imagining is that everyone sees a couple of OCiers on each excursion to the public square. After 5 – 10 years of such observation the general public will become as immune to civilians OCing as they are to police OCing. Subconsciously, seeing a civilian OCing will become unremarkable.

        Once so immunized there will remain the small fringe of foaming-at-the-mouth Antis. However, their vitriol will fall on deaf ears. The general public will remain aware of news reports of:
        – police shooting suspects in the streets on a regular basis; but,
        – civilians shooting assailants or bystanders in the streets rarely and almost never without a self-defense pretext.

        It is totally UN-necessary for ALL (or even most) of us to OC ALL (or most of) the time. If just a few percent of carriers OC 10% of the time we should be able to reach the goal I propose. Suppose half of us never OC. Some of us OC on special occasions: demonstrations; parades; Memorial Day or Independence Day. Though un-trained and un-habituated these should be able to do so in safety. (Carry AirSoft guns on such occasions if really squeamish.) The remainder can OC more-or-less regularly according to the circumstances.

        Ask yourself: How else (other than by OC) can we immunize the general public from hoplophobia?

        By all means, if you have a better idea then let’s hear it! Promotion of hunting is nice; but it communicates that civilian guns are fine in the fields. It does nothing to communicate that civilian guns are acceptable in the public square. Promotion of marksmanship is nice; it communicates that civilian guns are fine at the range; not in the public square. Promotion of concealed-carry for self-defense is nice; it communicates that civilian guns are supposed to remain out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Boxers or briefs? Well, that’s just something that we don’t talk about in polite company. Guns and underwear are taboo subjects to speak of.

  6. I’m planning to OC at least part of the time for sure. I specifically bought a vertical shoulder holster so I could have one that can be used either open or concealed. I’ll just keep a jacket or Hawaiian shirt in my car, when I want to switch I’ll just put it on. That way I can open carry then still hit Whataburger for lunch.

    • ^ As an outsider wishing I lived in Texas, this seems like the practical value of legal open carry. You can wear a (more comfortable) OWB holster but keep it mostly concealed under a suit jacket (like the cops do) or vest or whatever. Then if you want or need to take your jacket off, at least it’s legal.

      I think Texas will get there. In baby steps.

  7. I’m worried that my jurisdiction may not handle the inevitable BMWAG call I would likely generate… And since I spend a lot of time in Austin, I wonder how some of my favorite eating and coffee establishments would handle it…

    There’s a blogger out there who has more or less dared black men to open carry — he says we’ll get shot… At first, I was like “Sure I will – I’ll do it and prove you wrong.” As it gets closer… I will open carry in the sense that I will carry OWB and not worry about my shirt riding up… But I doubt I will OC with tucked in shirt and khakis / jeans…

    • I live in Georgia and I’ve had no problem open carrying my guns as a black male; Our state law authorizes civil suits against police departments that harass citizens carrying guns. It is also illegal to detain citizens just to see if they have a carry license.

    • Indeed. OWB opens up a LOT more options for holsters, and makes carrying a full size semiauto a lot more practical. I’d much rather have a full size handgun with the better ergonomics, sights and magazine capacity.

  8. I will carry 100% OWB beginning 1/1/16. I will however almost always have a shirt pulled over it to mostly conceal it. If I print or show I don’t care, I just don’t want it fully exposed unless I know for a fact I’m in a gun friendly area.

  9. I find it amazing that a state known as being independent and strong would ever outlaw open carry. Apparently, the reputation is not based on reality. Why would Texans ever allow a law forbidding open carry to pass in the first place? Virginia has never outlawed open carry so it is not an issue here. People don’t OC much but when they do, nobody pays any attention to it here in the mountains.

    • Re: “Apparently, the reputation is not based on reality.”

      C’mon down for a visit…share some BBQ and cold beer, pick out your average good ‘ol boy and strike up a conversation. You’ll be to answer your own question….we’re friendly that way 🙂

    • Speculation is that Open Carry fell out of favor in Texas during Reconstruction era after Civil War, Carpet Baggers. Personally I believe it fell out of favor after the great cattle drives ceased. On the plains and miles of rough country, you better have your revolver handy for quick use if you don’t want to end up in an unmarked grave along the way. Wolves, cougars, bears all predatory interest in cattle. Two legged predators, Outlaws,Rustlers, Indian raiding parties. Or maybe I just watched too many episodes of Rawhide.
      At any rate, in smaller towns in the Texas Hill Country, doubt you would get much grief, except if a lot of big city tourists or East/West Coast transplants got their panties in a bunch.

      • It fell out of favor when the carpet baggers changed the Texas Constitution to give them the power to outlaw it. It just sucks they did it before Texas ran the carpet baggers out of the state and no one ever fixed it. We won’t get Constitutional Carry in Texas before we get an amendment removing the legislature’s power to regulate it.

    • I agree Virginia was gun friendly than Texas and since I have moved to Wisconsin I have found the state.more gun friendly than Texas.

  10. I am unlikely to open carry, just because I don’t want anyone to know I’m carrying until they NEED to know I’m carrying.

    But like many others have said, I already have my OWB holsters for my three most common carry guns purchased and ready to go. I’ll wear a shirt over them, but on a day like today (103, feels like 107), being able to put even a tiny gun like the Shield into a OWB holster feels like a huge improvement.

  11. Question about Texas open carry… the new law is very specific that you can OC on the belt or shoulder. Sounds reasonable, but what’s the purpose of that stipulation? Do other OC states have issues with people OCing on ankle holsters or neck lanyards? What problem is that clause trying to address?

    It’s not impeding me or anything, just curious why ban other carry locations?

    • It’s probable a way for them to encourage people have their firearm on their person when OCing, instead of having it open and placed in a spot they may not have direct control over. Although that may mean I can’t carry a handgun openly on a chest rig. :/

    • I interpreted that clause as preventing people from just carrying a handgun in their hand, which circumstances could be intentionally intimidating, and then claiming they were merely open carrying.

      I think they were trying to preserve an objective distinction between peaceful open carrying and unlawful brandishing of the handgun.

      • That’s probably the case, but then why not just say “in a holster”? The language is very specific about it being a belt or shoulder holster only. It’s not a big deal, because how many people are going to OC in an ankle holster? But it would be interesting to know how that specific language came to be in there, mostly from a “seeing how the sausage is made” perspective.

  12. > not from Texas
    > goes to school in Texas
    > knows texans
    > texans will OC because texas

    Not holding it against them, but I know lots of people will do it because they can, and I support it.

    • >Am from Texas
      >Went to school in Texas
      >Also knows Texans
      >Agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment

      I WILL OC in January for exactly that reason… “Because I can!”

      I will also revert to CC once the new wears off, probably, but will follow the lead of many other posters here and CC with an OWB holster for a change.

  13. I carry a concealed handgun to protect myself if the need arises. I’m not interested in drawing attention to myself for any reason so, no, I won’t carry openly.

    • I feel the same way. While I do not criticize open carry, I prefer Concealed carry, simply because I feel the less someone else knows about your guns, the better.

  14. I’ll open carry heavily for the first few weeks, as an example, not an exhibition. Thereafter it’ll be more of a weekend thing. OC just isn’t a viable option throughout the business day, and I don’t want to have to haul around separate CC and OC rigs.

    Besides, preserving the CC practice allows me to perpetuate the myth that accommodation of a concealed firearm is the sole reason why I nowadays need to buy my pants in a size with a few more inches added to the waist.

  15. It will probably be much like it was in Oklahoma after they allowed open carry, very few will do it. In the past almost 3 years that Oklahoma has jaf open carry I have seen 1 person OC’ing and that was in the past month.

  16. I will O.C. day one and every chance I get to represent in a positive way. I will start to ask managers of stores and Cafe’s I currently visit now to see where they stand and ask if I would allowed back in after Jan 1.

  17. I OC’d in AZ and would definitely do so in TX. I gotta admit that I prefer CC just in case I miss an anti-gun sign. But I’ll OC mostly so I can just be a “normal” person who OC’s. And while OCing I’m courteous to a fault. My next OC opportunity will probably be in WI.

  18. As others, carry will depend on the situation. El Paso saddlery is nearby, and their custom holders are genuine art.

    • They’re nice, but if you want real art, try Purdy. Each made to your individual specification, and therefore each unique. Beautiful stuff I wish I could afford.

  19. A question. The reporter said to OC we’d have to renew our permits. I thought they just automatically let you OC on Jan 1st with an existing permit. Am I wrong here, or is the news wrong yet again?

  20. A mile away in Indiana open carry is legal-no blood baths,crime in the streets or civil insurrection. I imagine that Texas will be no different…except for the panties in a bunch boys and girls. Have fun!

  21. If Texans, the cowboys of film and history, have not managed Constitutional Carry by now, then I doubt the progressive nation that the United States is becoming will think them the rugged individualists. Arizona already allows CC because that’s what not only the citizens demand, but what our politicians want. With that said, most Arizonans conceal carry because it doesn’t make sense to tip off a possible opponent and make yourself a target. If a bad guy starts to rob a store and doesn’t see any guns that means either, A). Nobody is armed; or B). Everybody is armed! Does he really want to do this?

  22. For me it’s about the grip or barrel not showing, it’s called printing. I don’t have to worry about some soccer mom freaking out and calling the police because she saw a gun under my tee shirt. I live in an area with a lot of military and their dependents who are not Texas residents, some not used to seeing people with guns. Today it’s about 104 degrees outside. Wearing a belly band with a G42 is not comfortable. Having a rig and being able to carry a bigger gun, even a G26 comfortably without worrying about it showing is nice. For some they will walk around with it out until the novelty wears off. I invested enough trying to hide my guns, in the heat it is not fun. In the backwood areas I would without doubt be more inclined to OC, even a dog can attack quickly. If people want to OC their Cowboy rig and SA revolver more power to them or a Desert Eagle .50cal if it makes them happy. After a few hours in 100 degree heat they will probably not do it again. I’d be much more safe being in a place with everybody OC, I don’t think a criminal would want to risk it.

  23. My standard dress is jeans and a t-shirt. I will open carry and if the situation decrees I will throw the t-shirt over the gun. I call it casual carry. Not open yet not quite concealed. Comfort carry works too. That is my main reason for OWB carry.
    Today was middle 90’s, can you say lets see if we can rust the pistol to destruction. I like having a full sized pistol and not having it punch me in the kidneys every time I get in the car. I won’t miss wearing 2 t-shirts to keep it from abrading a hole in my posterior right lower quadrent.

  24. Someone could make a good living making luxury OC rigs, to go along with “jewelry” guns. Make wearing the fanciest rig a status symbol at the Petroleum Club. Then cash in on the trickle down. Think Hermes without the cheese-eater hangups.

  25. Question: In Texas under the new law, does reciprocity extend to OC for those with CWL from other states?Apologies if this has already been asked and answered.

  26. I imagine that most who will make use of the new law will do what I call “semi-open carry”. That is, they will switch to OWB holsters covered with a shirt. They will no longer worry if it becomes visible or if a little bit of the holster sticks out. And thus, the changed law will have a positive effect. Some, of course, will fully open carry, and many will shun that and continue to carry fully concealed. I see any expansion of carry laws in any state as a good thing because the antis hate it, if for no other reason.

    • This.

      For me, it will probably mean carrying my M&P full size in a OWB holster, instead of the Shield in my pocket.

  27. I am so used to CC, that for me nothing will change, although these 100+ degree days we’ve been experiencing make OWB seem a little “cooler”. I’m just glad that I don’t have to make sure my piece is concealed when I am bending down or reaching up for items at stores lest someone see my G43.

  28. Alaska, Montana and Wyoming are much more ruggedly individualistic than Texas. As are others in the Northeast.

    And what were they, #45 for OC?

    Texas gets a lot of mileage out of “Don’t Mess With Texas.”

    It’s an effing litter campaign!

    Eric
    Houston

    • The Northeast is full of socialists, real, full-on socialists. Not exactly “rugged individualists”.

  29. Question for all those that say they are excited about next Jan when they can OC in order not to have to worry about “printing” or inadvertently displaying their CC weapon due to a wind gust or reaching up on a top shelf, bending down to tie a shoe etc etc:

    Surely you must already be aware that our state laws were drastically changed over a year ago or so removing the penalties for accidental display of a concealed handgun by a CHL holder right? You don’t have to wait til next Jan. to comfortably wear an OWB with a shirt or jacket over it, you can do that now and have been able to since last year.
    How is it that so many passionate fellow gunowners go to all the trouble and expense to get their CHL’s, yet obviously haven’t ever even taken the time to actually READ for themselves the laws governing what we hold so dearly?

    • People don’t trust laws that allow “interpretation” by lawyers and judges. They feel that it will likely be “interpreted” against them. (Yes, I know there is either no case-law, or very little case-law, in Texas to cover this topic, but perception is everything. DAs are not nice people, they are belt-notchers, and they will go for a conviction against anyone if it makes them look like they are doing their jobs.) Besides, if the OWB holster sticks out below the cover garment, even a little bit, then it’s intentional, not accidental. With OC, no one will have to even think about it. Unless the intention is to 100% conceal, it just won’t matter. And if someone wants to take off their shirt or jacket, why then that will be acceptable, too. The changed law gives a greater flexibility in how to carry in Texas.

  30. “…Will Texans Open Carry After January 1?”

    Doesn’t matter if they will. What matters is they can.

    • I disagree wholeheartedly.

      Culture is king; and, unfortunately, America’s “polite culture” remains hoplophobic. Most States permit OC; yet, the States and precincts where OC is regularly observed are few. My impression is that OC is normalized only in AZ and NM. It is normalized only in some precincts of other States such as MI, OH, VA and a few others. (My limited knowledge is probably slighting some States for which I apologize.)

      It will not be sufficient if America becomes like Delaware where OC is legal but NEVER practiced.
      It will not be sufficient if America becomes like Michigan where OC is legal but practiced only in several precincts.

      The overwhelming majority of Americans will be left completely oblivious to guns as long as they never see guns (excepting when a neighbor loads his car on the way to the range or to hunt.)

      To break America’s culture of angst about guns we need OC to be widely practiced in a super-majority of precincts in the Right-to-Carry States. If we can achieve that goal than the effect will BEGIN to be felt in the last 5 – 10 NO-Right-to-Carry States.

      I have great hope that a popularization of OC in Texas will add to the OC practiced in AZ, NM, MI, OH, VA etc. such that OC will “catch-on” in many other States where it is legal. It won’t be necessary for everyone licensed to carry in Texas routinely practices OC; it will be sufficient if just 1 or 2% of Texans regularly OC. If the typical voter (and her children) see a couple of OCiers on each excursion in the public square, that will suffice.

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