Open Carry Bed-Wetters

As open carry of handguns goes into effect in Texas today, the bed-wetters are in full-swing. Here's eight points to put their fears to rest.

I've listened to a lot of talk radio this week in the lead-up to the legalization of open carry in Texas. Prior to January 1, 2016, open carry of handguns was illegal. Open carry of long-guns was totally fine. Texas, for all it's supposed pro-gun qualities has had very odd laws on open carry and has been slow to legalize the practice. Until today, Texas was one of about a half-dozen states that outlawed open carry of handguns.

As the first day of the new law drew nearer and nearer, voices on all sides became more concerned about what the new law could mean. Callers to local and national radio shows voiced concerns ranging from weapons retention (a valid concern) to freak-outs over the thought of having to be around people carrying guns (typical anti-gun bed-wetting).

So, let's address some of the fears and put them to rest, shall we?

First, the new law does not change where guns can be carried. Anywhere that was previously off-limits is still off limits no matter how you carry a gun. Businesses that want to prohibit open carry can do so by posting new 30.07 signs. Some have already announced that, while they will still welcome concealed carry, they will post the signs against open carry. Private property owners can still prohibit people from carrying guns on their property by posting signs or asking the gun owner to leave.

Second, the new law does not allow just anyone to carry openly. Open carry in Texas, unlike many other states, requires a permit. The state's Concealed Handgun License, or CHL, is now a License to Carry (LTC). In my home state of North Carolina, open carry is perfectly legal as long as you are not prohibited from possessing a firearm. Just pack a gun in a holster and head to the store.

Thirdly, training will now include training on weapons retention and new licensees and those who renew their licenses after January 1, 2016 be taught the new curriculum.

Fourth, the concerns that police will be overburdened by checking licenses at every turn are vastly overblown because police will assume that if you are open carrying you have a permit. Only if they observe suspicious behavior will they ask an open carrier for his/her license.

Fifth, one of the biggest bed-wetter complaints is the fear of not being able to tell if the open carriers have licenses or not. How will you know if the guy with the gun on his hip has a license or if he's some maniac? Ask yourself this: nearly a million Texans had permits to carry before January 1. How did you know which ones were carrying legally then? You are probably in contact with one or more armed Texans every day and don't even know it. How does seeing someone who may or may not be lawfully carrying make you feel unsafe, when you have no idea which of the people you come in contact with are carrying concealed and which of those are legal?

Sixth, most criminals won't take a chance on getting caught openly carrying a gun. Cops, and other criminals, know who they are. Getting caught with a gun is an easy way to get arrested on sight and increases your risk of being ventilated by cops or other thugs.

And finally, I doubt that many licensees will switch to open carry, since it draws attention and it's not as safe. Maybe for a few weeks you'll see people making a statement, but once the novelty wears off it will be back to normal.

The real benefit of the new law is the fact that concealed carriers can't be prosecuted for accidentally flashing their firearms. Back in my home state of North Carolina, where open carry is legal without a permit, the law protects CHL holders from prosecution if they accidentally reveal their weapon. Previously, here in my adopted home of Texas, if you reached up on a high shelf at the grocery store and showed off your smokewagon to an unsuspecting stranger, you could find yourself under arrest. The difference, which Texas for some reason could not fathom previously, was one of intent. The Old North State has a law called “Going Armed to the Terror of the Public” which forbids the kind of shenanigans open carry advocates in Texas used to engage in with long guns. Now that open carry is legal, expect to see less of that kind of silliness, and don't be surprised if you really don't see much difference in the way people carry their handguns, either.

There will be some who carry openly, but I suspect most of those will likely be dictated by circumstance. Hikers, or bikers, horseback riders who are out exploring the state's many trails and natural wonders. Joggers and cyclists might take advantage of the opportunity to openly carry a larger pistol rather than concealing a mouse-gun. Some will carry openly to make a statement, but I doubt there will be that many. Sheepdogs like being anonymous to the wolves.

The fears about open carry, as with all anti-gun fears, are unfounded and foolish when subjected to scrutiny. Somehow open carry is not a problem is 45 other states. Why should Texas be any different?

4 Comments on "Open Carry Bed-Wetters"

  1. O. L. James, III | January 1, 2016 at 6:57 am |

    Unintentional display has not been illegal in Texas since September, 2013.

  2. Dustin Ellermann | January 1, 2016 at 9:02 am |

    Well said. I predict a few of the attention seeking Bubbas in Walmart will tire of Open Carry soon enough and life will get back to normal like the other 44 states after a short transition period.

  3. I would like to hear the rationale supporting those business’ which decide to welcome open carry yet post the 30.07 sign. Absent that insight I would say it’s all about the money. I understand the strong desire to not offend any potential customer but by playing both sides, ie, not taking a stand they do risk that which they seek to avoid.

  4. William Sullivan | January 1, 2016 at 12:33 pm |

    If enough bed wetters keep it up, the California drought will be averted!

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