Joining the Majority – Amanda S. Green
The coming of a new year always brings with it new laws. Most of the time, those laws go into effect with little to no fanfare. Many received even less coverage in the press when they were proposed, debated and eventually signed into law. This year is different. All you have to do is turn on the national news or pick up a nationally circulated newspaper or go onto social media sites like Facebook to know that Texas has completely lost its collective mind and should be shunned or removed from the union or some such idiocy. Curious as to what sort of horrible, terrible and really bad law goes into effect the first day of the New Year? Open Carry.
That’s right, folks. Texas finally joins the vast majority of states in this glorious union of ours by allowing people to legally open carry their guns.
Yes, you read that right. It joins the vast majority of states. As in it becomes the 45th state to allow open carry.
Read that again. The 45th state to allow open carry in public places.
Funny, you don’t see that when reading all the stories condemning Texas for passing the law. Frankly, it surprised me when I started researching this post to discover that so many states already allowed open carry. Yet Texas is being painted as a horrible state and asking for so much trouble by allowing its citizens to do what 44 other states already allow. Funny how that is never talked about in the anti-gun propaganda.
A quick search on the internet this morning revealed the following stats:
- Four states and one other area do not allow open carry in public places: California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Washington D. C.
- 31 states allow open carry in public places without any sort of license or permit. In some of these states, the weapon must be unloaded.
- 15 states allow open carry in public places with some sort of permit or license.
Texas falls into the latter category. To be able to legally open carry a handgun, a person will have to 1) legally own the gun and 2) undergo the permit process which includes the CCW training class, fingerprinting and background check.
Something else you don’t hear much about in the media, and certainly not in the social media condemnations of open carry, is that businesses can choose whether or not to allow open carry on their premises. The Wall Street Journal has a pretty good article on how some businesses and other corporate entities are approaching the issue. It also notes that the same exceptions to the concealed carry permit currently in effect will also apply to open carry.
Unfortunately, the WSJ also promulgates the same argument so many opponents to open carry put forth: open carry will put police officers at more risk.
On the face of it, there might be some merit in that concern. However, there is one thing those spouting that “concern” seem to overlook. Open carried weapons are visible. The police will be able to see the weapon and act accordingly. If anything, I am more concerned about officers – or concerned citizens – overreacting when coming across someone open carrying.
That same article does point out one concern I have as a citizen, that of complacency by the police to calls from citizens worried because they have seen someone with a gun. In this case, the Colorado Springs 911 operator told a woman reporting a man walking down the street with a rifle that open carry was allowed and did not prioritize the call. The person with the rifle wound up killing three before being killed by police. Did the dispatcher follow policy? Probably but a simple call to the local patrol unit to check on the person might have helped prevent the deaths.
As I’ve written this post, I’ve debated whether or not to touch the real elephant in the room – private ownership of guns of any sort. There are those in this country who would take away our guns. Others would take away only some of our guns. The arguments for such strict gun control range from “no one needs an assault weapon” to “only our police and military should be armed” to “if there were no guns, there would be no mass murders”.
For me, it’s simple. A person who follows the law concerning gun ownership, no matter what the law is in that state, should be allowed to own as many guns as she wants. Outlawing guns or increasing the difficulty of doing so won’t stop gun crimes. If someone wants to shoot another person and they don’t own a gun, they will get one by stealing it or buying it from the black market. And yes, there is a black market for guns now and there most definitely will be one if we start outlawing guns.
That is the biggest fallacy in the anti-gun movement’s argument. Whether they actually believe violent crime will fall with the removal of legally owned guns from the equation or they just think the rest of us will fall for their line, I don’t know. But I would recommend they spend time in a country where there is a shortage of some non-essential commodity. Watch the black market in that country in action. Look around and see how many items not “legal” are not only owned by the citizenry but used, whether for good or ill means.
As for those who will feel “uncomfortable” because someone might walk into the same room with them carrying a gun, grow up. If a person means ill, not letting them open carry isn’t going to stop them. They will secrete the weapon upon their persons or will already have it stashed in the location. They will find a way to carry out their plan, law in place or not.
However, if that same person walks into a room or building, looks around and sees others open carrying, it very well might give them pause. Yes, there are those folks out there looking to commit suicide by cop and that could turn into suicide by open carry. But most are cowards who believe that brandishing a weapon is all they need to do to get what they want. When faced with people who have trained for open carry, self-preservation will kick in and – bingo – plans change.
Ask yourself something else as well. If you or your loved one is in a situation where an armed perp is threatening to kill them, would you prefer your loved one to be unarmed or able to defend himself? Oh, I know the argument that more people would be wounded or injured by those open carrying or concealed carrying but where are the stats to back that up? I don’t know about you but I am tired of our heroes being killed protecting innocents. Isn’t it time to even the playing field for them?
As long as it is legal to own guns, it should be legal to open and conceal carry. The fact that 45 of our 50 states plus the District of Columbia agree with me ought to say something. For all those crying “foul” about Texas joining the majority, grow up and get a life. Open carry isn’t a return to the Old West, at least not in Texas. The weapon has to be legal and the carrier has to be licensed and that means having taken the class and passed all the other requirements. Don’t like it? Move to one of the four states or the District of Columbia where it is not allowed. Just think about why several of those locations have such high crime rates when you do.
Most of all, remember that Open Carry is not universal, at least not in Texas. There are exceptions to where you can Open Carry just as there have been exceptions with Concealed Carry. You can’t take your gun into the courthouse. You can’t take it to sporting events. You can’t take it into businesses that make 51% or more of their profit from the sale of alcohol. You can’t take it into businesses and other locations that have said you can’t. That includes churches and privately owned businesses. They have to post the prohibition and it is up to the gun owner to secure their weapon off-premises.
All I can say is “Thank you, Texas, for finally joining the majority of our country when it comes to Open Carry.”