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The Source: Is Open Carry Movement Losing Steam At Texas Legislature?

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Paul Flahive, Texas Public Radio
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The Open Carry movement in Texas, the movement that endorses people be allowed to openly carry guns—be they handgun or rifle— unrestricted, is having its moment. The idea that divides even gun enthusiasts  currently has at least 10 bills filed in the Texas Legislature related to it, with even the 2014 Democratic nominee for Governor, Wendy Davis, endorsed it. 

Unlicensed Open Carry is legal in about half the United States, but Texas has banned openly carrying handguns for 125 years.

The Open Carry Texas movement has been marked by several large marches and rallies. One such rally rubbed lawmakers the wrong way though. When Open Carry Tarrant County gathered at the Legislature in support of HB 195, which allows for unlicensed open carry of guns, they were armed with long rifles. Advocates got into at least two heated confrontations with representatives and their staff.  

The interaction with State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, which was posted to Facebook by Open Carry Tarrant County leader Kory Watkins, drew immediate reprimand by legislative leaders. It also caused the Legislature to pass new rules installing panic buttons in offices and allowing staff to eject hostile citizens.  

On Tuesday, gun regulation advocates were pleasantly surprised to wake up to news that newly minted Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick said open carry didn't have the votes to pass the Senate, and "isn't a Senate priority."

Since then, Open Carry advocates have been critical of Patrick, who promised to "Fight for Open Carry" on the campaign trail.

Come and Take It Texas has said they will work against any bill that doesn't equate to "constitutional carry" the unlicensed open carry of handguns.

Will open carry pass? Where is the public on open carry laws? Will the movement change tactics in dealing with lawmakers?

Guests:

  • Murdoch Pizgatti, president of Come And Take It Texas
  • Angela Turner, member of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive