December 02, 2008
They're not just sidearms, they're accessories

This ought to make for some lively debate.

More than a month before the legislative session starts Jan. 13, gun-rights supporters are asking state lawmakers to pass an "open carry" law to let Texans stop covering up the guns they carry and wear them openly.

They are putting their message on billboards, on banners on cabs and in radio ads, asking others to sign on to the cause.

"We are targeting Texas," said Mike Stollenwerk, co-founder of, a champion of the growing nationwide effort. "Texas is probably the most pro-gun state, but doesn't have open-carry laws.

"As Texans realize how restrictive their rights are . . . there will be an awakening. Get ready for a showdown in Austin come January."

Texas is somewhat of an open-carry battleground because it is one of only six states where handguns cannot, in some form, legally be worn in plain view. Texas residents may carry concealed handguns if they have a permit.

More than 28,000 people have signed an online petition asking Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature to make Texas an open-carry state.


Supporters say open carry is needed because under the concealed-carry law, gun owners can get in trouble for displaying their weapon even inadvertently, such as if a jacket covering it up blows back enough to show the gun.

"I want to be able to remove my suit jacket in the middle of a hot Texas August day without being labeled a criminal," said Ralph Carroll, who lives in Van Zandt County and works in Dallas. "I can drive east or west one state over, remove my jacket in the heat of the day and still be a perfectly legal citizen. But that same act in Texas will brand me a criminal -- for no reason other than I live in Texas."

Okay, I can see the value in that. As Grits and Injustice Anywhere have shown, gun carriers have been subject to petty harassment by law enforcement for exercising their rights. While I can't quite get this image out of my head for the open carry advocates, as someone who thinks we criminalize way too much stuff in Texas, I would support this effort. Vince and Hal have more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 02, 2008 to The great state of Texas

I support Open Carry also. I think it would help vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists out in rural and suburban areas avoid being buzzed, harrassed, and assaulted by aggressive young male red-drivers. They would give pause before hurling that beer bottle if they were to see a pistol in a holster, I believe.

Posted by: Peter Wang on December 2, 2008 6:49 AM
Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)