Public, City Prepare For Open Carry Law

Many people have questions about the new law.


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City Attorney Donna Edmundson,
A screengrab of City Attorney Donna Edmundson, who participated in a panel discussion with Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr and Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson to answer questions from the public on the new Texas open carry law.

The Texas open carry law goes into effect on January 1st. The city of Houston is still trying to develop policies and procedures for that day.

“We’ve been in contact with all the major cities,” said City Attorney Donna Edmundson. “We talked to the Texas Municipal League. Unfortunately, this law wasn’t written very well. It’s not very clear. There’s a lot of nuances in there, so I could read it one way; I can read it another way.”

Some expect there will be a learning curve.

“I would say that most Texans don’t carry guns with them, and there are a lot of people that don’t own guns, and when they somebody with a gun it signals something different to them than it would another gun owner,” said Dr. Mitchell Roth, a criminal justice professor with Sam Houston State University.

Dr. Roth says those who open carry will have to be especially careful when dealing with police officers.

“I think that’s going to be incumbent on people to treat the police with even more respect, especially if they know you have a gun. There’s been cases of police shooting people who they thought had a gun, and didn’t have a gun.”

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland expects his officers will be busy when the new law takes effect in January.

“And someone could be lawfully carrying a sidearm after January 1st, you know, in your favorite grocery store (or) retail store, and people may start to generate calls for service for us,” McClelland said,

A handgun must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster. Minors younger than 18 can only open carry in the presence of an adult. And officers may ask to see your I.D. and concealed handgun license at any time.

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