After years of work, political activism, protests and educational open carry marches, Texas now has licensed open carry. If you have a carry license, you can carry your holstered pistol in most public spaces in Texas. On the first day of licensed open carry, I celebrated by doing a little open carry. I started with the library in Benbrook, because I have been spending some time working there. They have very good Internet connectivity and the place that I’m staying does not. They weren’t open on the first, a holiday, so I contented myself with carrying outside . . .
Across the street was the police station. The top picture shows me openly carrying there. They had recently put up fresh 30.06 and 30.07 no concealed or open carry signs, so I didn’t go in. It’s a controlled entry, so they legitimately could have signs. Unfortunately, whoever made the signs made them a little too small, so they aren’t quite legal.
Then I went to Walmart and strolled through the isles. No one seemed to bat an eye. I was told that the greeter had asked where I was from, and seemed to be satisfied with the proffered “Arizona.” I don’t have a problem with Arizona having a better reputation for being more Second Amendment friendly than Texas. I went through the grocery section, picked up a few items, and went to check on the ammunition display. As usual for the last three years, no .22 was available.
Then I headed to Cracker Barrel for a family celebratory dinner. No one commented on the open carry. As I have predicted, and has been the case with open carry in the 44 other states that have it, most people didn’t even notice that I was carrying a pistol. With the large cell phones that are commonly carried and most people’s preoccupation with their daily lives, few pay attention to what’s riding on another person’s belt.
In Arizona, we’ve always had open carry, as most states have. I’m used to it there, and missed it a great deal in Texas, where I often visit. Having to grab a jacket just to go out to the truck to retrieve a tool, or to step next door to talk to a neighbor was irritating and irrational. I detested the necessity of concealing my carry handgun while exercising. Concealed carry while running in hot weather is a pain.
To put it plainly, open carry in Texas was a profoundly liberating experience. Texas has taken a big step toward restoring the Second Amendment in the state. Now they can move forward toward eliminating the silly restrictions that still exist.
In the rest of the nation, there are only five states that ban the open carry of handguns in most public spaces. They are California, Illinois, New York, Florida, and South Carolina. Florida and South Carolina are in a race to see which will restore open carry rights first. Florida had open carry until 1987, when future US Attorney General Janet Reno lobbied for an open carry ban in a special legislative session after the Florida shall issue concealed carry law passed. Florida now has an open carry bill active in their legislature.
I look forward to seeing open carry rights restored over the entire nation in the years to come. The gun grabbing community hates open carry because it’s a combined exercise of both First and Second Amendment rights. It’s strong, symbolic, political speech that declares that the power of the government is limited, the Constitution means something, and that rights must be respected as one of bases of the rule of law.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.