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Texas' Open-Carry Law Goes Into Effect January 1

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Virginia Alvino
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Texas Public Radio News

Starting January 1st, Texans with a concealed handgun license will be allowed to carry their firearms openly, with some restrictions. But many people still have questions about the parameters of the new law.

More than 100 people Tuesday packed a public informational meeting about open-carry.

Many folks, like Rose Garcia, are concerned about safety.  

How exactly this is going to affect me, my coworkers," asks Garcia. "What precautions are they going to take now, or do we need to take any?”

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus says he hopes the change is much ado about nothing. He says officers have reviewed the law, and dispatchers have been trained to ask a series of questions if people call in regards to open-carry. McManus says it will take a period of adjustment for people to get used to seeing exposed firearms.

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Credit Virginia Alvino / Texas Public Radio News
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Texas Public Radio News
From left to right: Jason Mata, President of the Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, District 123 Representative Diego Bernal, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood

Licensed carrier Joel Falcon says the change is a matter of convenience. He says “it’s the same people that have concealed carry that won’t have to worry about weather my pistol is showing or not." Falcon says anybody carrying legally has undergone training and a background check.

Those who already have a concealed handgun license do not need to undergo any additional training or pay any additional fees once the open-carry law goes into effect. Classes for new license to carry applicants will include methods to secure holstered handguns. 

San Antonio Representative Diego Bernal voted against open-carry, and is now helping to educate his constituents.

Under the law, private businesses and places of worship can choose not to allow exposed firearms on their 

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Credit Virginia Alvino / Texas Public Radio News
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Texas Public Radio News
Private businesses wanting to ban open-carrying firearms on their premises need to post a 30.07 sign visibly at every entrance.

premises by posting signage. Bernal says he’s printed 1,000 signs and he’s running out quickly.

Open-carry is banned in some places, including public schools, courthouses, bars, airports, jails, polling places, and some areas of government buildings.

Handguns, loaded or unloaded, must be in a shoulder or belt holster.

Violation of the law could result in a misdemeanor or loss of license to carry.

Virginia joined Texas Public Radio in September, 2015. Prior to hosting and producing Fronteras for TPR, she worked at WBOI in Indiana to report on often overlooked stories in the community. Virginia began her reporting career at the Statehouse in Salem, OR, and has reported for the Northwest News Network and Oregon Public Broadcasting.