The Open Carry Texas advocates have been getting a lot of press in the Metroplex lately.
They want to legalize the open carry of handguns under the provisions of the Second Amendment. Their actions follow those of open-carry advocates in other states.
Under Texas law, it is legal to carry a rifle or shotgun as long as it is not in a threatening manner.
As almost everyone knows by now, concealed carry of weapons is permitted with a license. That license requires a course, proven proficiency in marksmanship, a national records search and fingerprints.
The problem with open carry would be verifying that the person with the weapon is legally allowed to do so. Convicted felons, for example, cannot possess weapons. If someone is out on bail for a weapon-related offense, do we really want that person walking the streets with a sidearm?
As for law enforcement, it could become a nightmare. Seeing someone with a sidearm, could they stop that person and ask for identification? It comes down to probable cause. If the person is violating the law by having a weapon, a defense attorney could argue — possibly successfully — that the officer had no probable cause.
Then there is the gang problem. Do we really want gang members openly carrying sidearms — revolvers or semiautomatics?
These advocates are, one would assume, all law abiding citizens with no thought of violating the law. They want to arm citizens, for whatever reason. They can argue that an armed citizenry is a safer citizenry, but allowing everyone to walk the streets with a pistol, openly carried, will not do that.
We are not advocates of abolishing the right to bear arms — it has been a part of this nation’s history, born from a time when a monarch feared armed citizens, and it should continue.
However, open carry does not further the cause of those who support the right to bear arms and it will not necessarily make for a safer society.
It could be just the opposite.