Texas lawmakers could soon change its 140-year ban on carrying a handgun openly as the GOP-dominated legislature and the new Republican governor are expected to push for expanded gun rights.
Texas is one of just a handful of states that bans open carry of handguns. But Gov.-elect Greg Abbott says that just isn’t right. “If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas.”
At least six bills have already been filed for the upcoming legislative session, according to the Associated Press. Open carry drew wide support in the 2014 statewide election and Abbott has pledged to sign a bill if lawmakers pass one.
Most states already allow open carry. But Texas, California, Florida, New York, Illinois and South Carolina don’t. But Texas is different: The state is gun-friendly, unlike, say, California. What’s more, Gov. Rick Perry has wooed gun manufacturers to leave their restrictive home states and come to Texas, where there are few restrictions on ownership.
While more than 800,000 Texans have concealed handgun licenses, openly carrying a handgun is banned, although long weapons like rifles and shotguns can be carried openly.
The AP quoted Texas Rep. Joe Stickland as saying:
“The idea is we’re going to return our Second Amendment rights. I can’t imagine what the citizens would do if they had to take a class or pay a fee to use their First Amendment rights.”