Open Carry Has a Good Shot of Passing in Texas, If Those AK-Toting Demonstrators Don't Screw it Up

Categories: Guns

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Open Carry Texas
At the GOP convention in Fort Worth last weekend, as rifle-toting protesters stood outside decrying their guns' exclusion from the convention hall, three thirtysomething men, two brothers and a cousin, approached Texas State Rifle Association lobbyist Alice Tripp. Their pitch -- that Texans should have the right to openly carry handguns -- was identical to the one being shouted at the TV cameras outside. The difference was, this trio had their weapons holstered. Also, their weapons were carrots.

Open carrot -- get it?

Yes, that pun is awful, but that's not the point.

"They had a whole presentation that the three of them would go through that was just like standup," Tripp says. "That was the way it went. Their ideas are the same. Their intentions are the same as the guys that are doing demonstrations with long guns, but they were disarming."

They were preaching to the choir with Tripp, who's been lobbying for gun rights in Texas for nearly two decades, but clearly, they had a knack for bypassing knee-jerk defenses and making people listen.

Tripp and her fellow gun-rights lobbyists will be doing something very similar (albeit with considerably less slapstick) when the Legislature convenes in January. For the first time ever, the main gun-rights groups in Austin -- the NRA, the TSRA, and the Texas Firearms Coalition -- will be making a concerted push for open-carry legislation, and they say it has a very good shot at passing if open carry demonstrators like the ones outside the GOP convention don't screw it up.

It boggles the mind, but this wasn't even an issue in Texas a decade ago, despite the fact that the public display of handguns has been illegal in Texas since some time around Reconstruction and that only four other states explicitly ban open carry, making Texas a laggard on this particular front.

The big gun-rights battle in Texas, waged in the early to mid-1990s, was over concealed carry.

"Open carry was literally not on the radar screen," says Charles Cotton, an NRA board member and president of the TFC.

What changed, Tripp says, was the Internet. A critical mass of people suddenly realized what a rarity Texas' open-carry ban was, and they began mobilizing to change it.

The resulting legislative efforts have so far been less than spectacular. In 2007, Cotton says, a now-defunct activist group convinced state Representative Debbie Riddle to draft a bill allowing open carry, but she abandoned it after being pelted with a barrage of friendly fire.

Her bill was for licensed open carry, which essentially keeps the training and permitting requirements of current handgun laws but takes out the part about them needing to be concealed. The activists were pushing for unlicensed or "constitutional carry," in which anyone can waltz down the street with a visible sidearm with or without the government's approval.

State Representative George Lavender, a Texarkana Republican, picked up the torch from Riddle, introducing a licensed open-carry bill as a freshman in 2011, then again in 2013. The first died in committee without a hearing. The second time, there was a hearing, but it was doomed by the Democratic committee chair who refused to bring it up for a vote. Partly, says Democratic strategist Harold Cook, its backers were obscure legislators without clout. Partly, it was obscured by a slew of other bills like campus carry (which failed) and one halving training requirements for concealed-carry permits (which passed).

Open carry, Cook says, is "what naturally happens when you've already won everything."

"I don't think there's any question it's going to be more of a priority -- that would happen no matter what. Both Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis come out in favor of open carry. ... That alone would elevate the issue. It elevates it far beyond the backbenchers who were advocating for it in past sessions."

Prioritizing something is one thing. Actually turning it into law is another. There are committees to clear. There's the two-thirds rule in the Senate, requiring two Democrats to agree before a bill is brought up for a vote. And there's the vocal contingent of activists who will be satisfied with nothing short of full-on, unrestricted constitutional carry.

Open Carry Texas founder CJ Grisham made himself quite clear on the latter point in a recent op-ed in the Texas Tribune, referring to the NRA and other mainline gun groups as "pro-gun elitists who believe our rights are subject to licensing."

Neither Cotton nor Tripp is opposed to constitutional carry per se. They just think it's unrealistic. Licensed Texas gun owners have a two-decade track record of carrying firearms safely. Doing away with licenses is a leap most lawmakers probably won't take, particularly with what looks to be armed militias occupying the neighborhood Chipotle.

"I can't tell you about public opinion," Cotton says. "What I can tell you is the impact in Austin is 100 percent negative. It's across-the-board negative."

The fact that the open-carry debate has generated so heated much heat puzzles Cook. What, after all, will really change if licensed gun owners are allowed to have a pistol on their hip rather than under their jacket? Not much. Under normal circumstances, he thinks the controversy would be relatively muted, particularly if those pushing it made it a local-option thing, with counties able to opt in or out as they choose.

"If everybody would just relax, it would all probably end up just fine," he says. "One side screaming that every little aspect of this issue is a constitutional right, the other side screaming that every little aspect of this issue is murdering innocents. Where is the room for honest cool-headed lawmaking in that?"

Tripp, too, longs for calm debate.

"I can't predict if a handful of selfish, self-centered, egocentric folks keep doing what they're doing and dampening the chances, maybe we don't," she says. "If those that have used good sense and good manners and good judgment for the last 20 past years do, and they write their legislators, maybe it is time."

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161 comments
marc259
marc259

We don't need no education

What we need is ammunition

Hey teacher! leave those kids alone. 

txsouthpaw
txsouthpaw

The American Dicky-Do Crew sure has big guns. They're almost as impressive as the lifted 3/4 ton pickups plastered with game association stickers they use to pickup their dry cleaning. If one wants to observe this type of creature in the wild, they only need to travel to their nearest affluent suburb.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

For the edification of those subject to and guilty of propaganda, you know who you are:

So on Wednesday, CNN took a closer look at the list, delving into the circumstances of each incident Everytown included.

CNN determined that 15 of the incidents Everytown included were situations similar to the violence in Oregon -- a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school. That works out to about one shooting every five weeks.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/11/us/school-shootings-cnn-number/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

But the president said one a day!

majstoll
majstoll

45 states allow the open carry of properly holstered handguns.  30 of these states allow open carry without permits.  So should Texas!  Learn more at OpenCarry.org. 

MikeO
MikeO

Here's a caption for the photo above: "no worries, my finger is just two inches away from spraying this Jack in the Crack full of lead"

Observist
Observist

These comments are great.  It lets the locals know what the kids who use to ride the short bus are up to and anyone outside of Texas know that not only to we support carrying our guns to Wendy's (in case they short us on the fries, I said Super Size Goddammit) but also know that we will totally trash anyone who doesn't support us. 


In other words, as one of our great leaders/philosophers/artist once said, "you are either for us and against us by fooling me once but shaming against us with your shame to me and such as and like in the Iran"   unquote.  In other words, Fuck off.

grendal113
grendal113

decades versus one year. Anyone wonder why?

grendal113
grendal113

decades versus one year. Anyone wonder why?

EdD.
EdD.

Fun side effect: "He had a gun!" should no longer be a valid reason to "stand your ground" or be "in reasonable fear for your life" to act in self-defense.

MartinCohn
MartinCohn

So if the NRA and TSRA hadn't been sitting around with their thumbs up their butts all these years I would be glad to hear what they have to say. But they lost that privilege long ago. You can both just keep on diddling yourselves, we got it from here.

To all the 2A BUTTers (I support 2A but..) go turn in your guns and go join mayor big gulp and the mad mommies. YOU are already doing their bidding.

To the antigunners. Stil legal to Open Carry long guns and black powder pistols in Texas. We will get Open Carry of handguns in this legislative session in Texas. No matter how much you whine piss and moan.

See ya on the street!

doccas2003
doccas2003

Did it ever occur to you geniuses that the reason open carry will probably pass next legislative session is that politicians got tired of seeing the open carry of long guns and decided open carry of handguns is better?

"Hey Austin, you don't like to see open carry of long guns. No problem. Make carry of handguns legal and the long guns will go away."

Seems pretty obvious to me.

When supposedly "pro-gun" activists spend their time attacking other pro-gun activists, who wins? Oh, yeah. The anti-gunners!

Just who, exactly, are Cotton and Tripp working for?

Basic history lesson:

United We Stand.
Divided We Fall.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

I think the greatest danger these guys face is attack from an anti-gun rights zealot.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

"Fine, we'll give you your rights back, but only if you promise not to actually use them."

lebowski300
lebowski300

I hope all the open carry mental defectives shoot themselves.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@TheRuddSki somehow I'm told that your position is racist, and in 2016 it may turn out to be sexist as well.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@majstoll


Wow, where have you been? This is the first time someone from your organization actually posted a coherent, informative aid to understanding, and didn't manage to insult every potential supporter in your first post.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@EdD

It never has been.

druid.logan
druid.logan

@MartinCohn

So you are not OK, proving you have the right to bear arms via a background check, but are OK with having to show a mandatory government ID to prove you have the right to vote?


Is that correct?

I am a 2A and Open Carry supporter, just want clarity on your view.

Why would one not be as equal as the other, both are rights guaranteed under The Constitution.

Observist
Observist

@MartinCohn  Martin, let me tell you what to do.  Come up with several different identities.  Then make sure you gets your lips all juicy wet prior to having them attached to ruddiski's lips.  He leads the 5 men who live here under various names even though he himself is not sure where HE lives, but at last count has 321 children all of the owners of major corporations and leaders of the free world. 

Once you get tongued, then look for "libtard newbies".  Everyone likes to gang attack them.  Oh what is a DO libtard?

It is ANYONE who simply does NOT support the views that filter down from Dingus Con (R). 


Nothing is off limits.  Degrade women and minorities to your heart's content and if they call you a bigot, call them a liar.  Them thar are your rules.  No go and rulez.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@MartinCohn

"When supposedly "pro-gun" activists spend their time attacking other pro-gun activists, who wins? Oh, yeah. The anti-gunners!"


You weren't able to make it all the way through the story before copying and pasting, huh. That pesky reading comprehension thing that the teachers kept talking about, that thing.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@MartinCohn You are the type of fucktard OC activist they are talking about.  You are so fucking hard lined with your stance , you are actually hurting yourself.  Makes you look like the fucking crazy

mark_unt
mark_unt

@TheRuddSki More like heart disease or high cholesterol judging by most of the pictures I've seen of these guys. I don't think it's a coincidence that they choose to do a lot of their "demonstrating" in cheap fast food restaurants.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@lebowski300 I hope all mouth breathing idiots who spout off like a tough guy hiding behind an alias punch themselves in the face.


Sincerely,

Dave

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TexMarine

I certainly hope so.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@wcvemail 

It's funny that you would refer to spam as "a coherent informative aid to understanding".


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@observist

There are several newly-created identities all with the same weird obsession with me. You're apparently one or more of them.

Weird, but flattering, glad to rock your world(s).

doccas2003
doccas2003

@ScottsMerkin, Don't tell me, let me guess. You work for Moms Demand Action/Billionaire Bloomberg?


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mark_unt

They have stepped up to not being served at better restaurants, like Chili's. Maybe they'll get to not eat at Fearing's soon.

Observist
Observist

@PlanoDave Plane Old (very) Dave, that doesn't even make sense.  We know your 87 and live in your church basement but you really need to open your mind enough  to learn some snarky comebacks.  You sound like some teen gal with a learning disability.  You are weak with your wit as your are with your mind.  I think feeble is the word I am looking for.  Yes that is the word.  Feeble.  


I SAID FEEBLE DAVE...CAN YOU HEAR ME?  Now buzz the night nurse because it is obvious your Colostomy Bag is overflowing cause you are sounding more and more full of shit.    Night night.

lebowski300
lebowski300

So @PlanoDave is your legal name. Not broadcasting your name, address and phone number doesn't make one anonymous. Post your name and address and I'll meet you there and tell you mine. While I mouth breath down your throat.

lebowski300
lebowski300

@PlanoDave So "@PlanoDave" is your legal name"? I'm hiding behind nothing, .if you care to have me mouth breath on you directly. Also, fists don't kill people. People kill people. Or something like that.

observist
observist topcommenter

Yes these cheap imitation Observists and Ovservists are diminishing my brand equity. Look for the lower case o and the top commenter status to make sure the insults you receive are genuine observist insults.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@MartinCohn HAHAHAHAHA no, you obviously dont read much of what I comment here so Ill give you a pass.  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@doccas2003 @ScottsMerkin ha no, not even close.  But thanks for showing your ignorance by thinking someone like me cant be pro gun.  but wait,  dont tell me.  you are an extremist gun nut who hates someone like me that has no issues with guns

doccas2003
doccas2003

@CogitoErgoSum Wow! You are even of lower information than I originally thought (and I originally thought you were REALLY low information).

No restaurant for me. My wife of 40 years is a gourmet cook. Oh, and no going into any business with a long gun. :)

Intimidating! Now that is funny! I WISH I were intimidating. I am a 70 year old man with Multiple Sclerosis. The most intimidating thing I can do is try to stand up! :D

No, not low information. Well versed in local, state, national, and international politics. And actively engaged in the former three as a Precinct Chairman.  

And calling me a rightest is the funniest thing I have ever read on here (and I have read some pretty funny stuff). I am decidedly left of center. I am in favor of gay marriage rights, the right to choose, equal pay, publicly funded health insurance for those who cannot afford it, food stamps for families in need, immigration reform, etc., etc., etc. And I am very much against any interventionist war, and those who profit from such wars.

But it was a nice try. :)

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Observist @PlanoDave so you hate old people, very nice.  What, are you 17 and in your rebellious stage?  Any how, You call him old then say he sounds like a teen gal.  which is it?  And who the fuck under the age of 70 calls anyone gal anymore.  I think that comment right there speaks more to how old you really are

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Observist

With all the clever possibilities for anonymous nicknames, why do you choose an existing one?

Observist
Observist

@lebowski300  Here is the problem and I think you can trust me.  Many of these guys are in old folks homes and can not post past 9pm much less go out in public.  Not to mention most are unable to drive any longer.  They don't know Facebook and think Instagram is what the nurses try to feed them for Breakfast.  Some are more advance (dementia) than others.  I think Holman is connected to a colostomy bag and ruddiski can't keep up with his multiple stories but the oldest of the older men like him. You know in that cute way.


It would be nice if at least one of them had a sense of humor but sadly not one of them even has any sense.  But it is mighty nice of you to offer to keep them company.  They like it if you send them episodes of Gunsmoke.   Tell them they are new, they will never know.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@lebowski300  Dave is my legal name and I live in, wait for it, Plano.

You are the poster child for the troll who talks big and hides on the internet.  My bet is you would never look any of the open carry guys directly in the eyes out of fear that one may beat the living crap out of you for sport.

Observist
Observist

@wcvemail As in Lucien? Do you like Daddy's worms?  Do they scare you?  Wanna shoot some mean old libtard worms?  Bless your little heart. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@observist

I can tell the difference between blue and red. This is the same hysterical woman that created the other six puppets, probably. I'm flatterred.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@doccas2003 @CogitoErgoSum Sometimes, in the absence of a short bio of a new commenter (thanks for yours above), we must make assumptions. You know, like you did with Lebowski. Your comment made you sound adversarial to someone who is critical of these open carry fools, therefore the restaurant patron-intimidating remark. Why in the world would you stoop to calling someone a leftist when you call yourself "left of center"? Perhaps, along with the MS, there's a little dementia?

lebowski300
lebowski300

@PlanoDave And that is as revealing as me saying I am a fan of a movie, wait for it, The Big Lebowski. Now that information compared against Dave and Plano is just as revealing. Here is who I am: http://Facebook.com/michaeljoneill. I have never backed down from a gun nut, that I recall. Thankfully they mostly hide under rocks in public, unlike the ones The DO has been publicizing lately. And I still stand behind the wish that the mentally defective open carry gun nuts to shoot themselves.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter


@PlanoDave @lebowski300 So if we see an open carrier at a Plano restaurant - and his name is Dave - we'll know it's you, PD! We're waaaatching.

doccas2003
doccas2003

@CogitoErgoSum Because I suffer from MS you can dehumanize me and dismiss my informed opinions with "there's a little dementia."

That is the most disgusting, demeaning, dehumanizing thing anyone has ever said to me.


End of discussion.

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