Lawmaker’s sights set on making Texas an open-carry state for handguns

by Wayne Slater, Dallas News  |  published on November 26, 2012

The lunchtime rush had subsided, and three idle sandwich shop employees were speculating about what they would do if a guy dressed in T-shirt and jeans walked through the door with a holstered Colt .45 strapped to his hip.

“I would think it’s a plainclothes police officer,” said Eric Bejarano.

“I would be suspicious that he had come to rob us,” said Candice Guard.

“I would call the cops to come check him out,” said Matthew Guard, Candice’s husband.

If a Texas lawmaker has his way, strangers wearing six-shooters may become a common sight across the state.

The Legislature passed a law in 1995 allowing Texans to carry handguns concealed under coats, in purses, or in glove compartments. But it’s still against the law to carry pistols where people can see them.

Rep. George Lavender, a Texarkana Republican, wants to change that. When the Legislature convenes in January, he says, he will push for an “open carry” law. His plan is to give the more than 500,000 Texans who hold concealed-weapon licenses the option of carrying holstered pistols out in the open.

Lavender said he finds it ironic that freedom-loving Texas is one of just six states not to allow some form of open carry. The others are Illinois, New York, Arkansas, South Carolina and Florida. An open-carry law went into effect in Oklahoma on Nov. 1.

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