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HPD Chief: More Public Information Is Needed About Texas Open Carry Law

The Texas open carry law goes into effect on January 1st.


Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr., Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, and City Attorney Donna Edmundson participate in a panel discussion and answer questions from the public on the new Texas Open Carry legislation, which will allow a license holder to “open carry” a handgun in a holster starting January 1, 2016. 

 

The Texas open carry law goes into effect on January 1st.

The Houston Police Department is answering questions from the public about the new law.

“Police officers are themselves struggling to understand it,” said HPD Police Chief Charles McClelland. “As a police officer, it is so complex, I really don’t understand all the nuances of the law.”

McClelland was joined by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson at a recent panel discussion. About 200 citizens attended to ask questions about the open carry law, which allows a concealed weapon license holder to open carry a holstered handgun.

Anderson said officers are allowed to ask people with a gun on their hip to present their concealed weapons license.

“So an officer can walk up to you if you have a gun in your holster and say, ‘I’d like to see your I.D. and your CHL,” Anderson said. “And you shall produce those two things.”

Chief McClelland expects there will be lots of calls from nervous members of the public uncomfortable in the presence of a gun.

“But just because you see someone walking down the aisle at Walmart or Target, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unlawful,” he said. “Now, if you call, we will respond. If you’re alarmed enough that ‘hey, this is alarming. I need somebody to come out here and check it out and investigate it’ — we’re going to come.”

Chief McClelland said there’s a learning curve for the public and for law enforcement. McClelland said the heavy turnout at this informational meeting indicates the need for more public information about open carry.

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