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Chances of ‘Open Carry’ Bill Appear Slim This Session

An effort to let Texans openly carry handguns could die under the weight of more pressing legislation. Ed Mayberry reports.

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House Bill 2756 would remove the “concealed” from concealed handgun licenses. Fort Worth State Representative Lon Burnam opposed the bill when it was in committee.

“Well, I think it’s a horrible idea. I mean, do you want to be going to the grocery store and seeing people walking down the aisle with a holster and gun? I don’t think this is what we want to be teaching our children. I don’t think this is the culture or civilization that we want to be living in. And it’s dangerous to do this.”

Representative Burnam says most police chiefs in Texas are opposed to an “open carry” law. There are other states with similar laws on the books, but they are generally more sparsely-populated.

“It depends from individual officer to individual officer — some misunderstandings about the Second Amendment — whether or not they support this. I am told that there are certain states that do have ‘open carry,’ and an argument is this has not been a problem. Well, I don’t want to live in those states.”

The Department of Public Safety says there are 461,724 active concealed handgun license holders in Texas. Permit holders would still have to have that concealed gun permit to openly carry. District 12 Representative James White co-authored the “open carry” bill.

“I’m looking at it like this: I’m from East Texas. We hold our Second Amendment rights near and dear to us, and any type of legislation that supports the responsible use of the Second Amendment, I’m totally for that. That is what brought me to support ‘open carry’.”

The last day to hear House bills on the floor is Thursday at midnight. Representative Sid Miller of Stephenville, chairman of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee that sent the bill to the House, says if it’s not added to the already-crowded calendar by Tuesday, it probably will not be considered this session.

“It looks pretty bleak. There’s probably 300 bills in front of it. It’s not a top priority this legislative session. There’s other legislation that’s taking priority over this one.”

There are less than three weeks left in the 82nd legislative session.

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