Texas Legislature 2013 - Will Texas Finally Pass an Open Carry Law for Concealed Carry Licensees | Texas GOP Vote

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Texas Legislature 2013 - Will Texas Finally Pass an Open Carry Law for Concealed Carry Licensees

Woman Openly Carrying a Handgun - Photo from Marie-Claire UKDuring the 2011 Legislature, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill out of committee that would allow licensed concealed carry permit holders the option of carrying a firearm open or concealed. The bill did not make it to the floor for a vote of the entire House. In this session, as the debate over gun control rages on at the federal level, Representative George Lavender (R-Texarkana) and Representative Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) have introduced HB 700 to bring the debate forward again. This bill will certainly gather a lot of attention as it works its way through the 2013 Legislature. (Photo from Marie-Claire UK)

Rep George Lavender (R-Texarkana)Lavender expects the bill to move more efficiently this session as it has been introduced earlier in the session.  In a statement released yesterday, Lavender said,"This bill allows law abiding, licensed individuals to more fully exercise their 2nd Amendment rights," said Rep. Lavender. "At the time when the federal government is increasingly infringing upon our 2nd Amendment rights, we are saying that if you are a law abiding citizen, we want you to be able to defend yourself, your family and your property."

Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall)"Texas is one of the very few states that does not allow its citizens some form of open carry. Texas should not be a laggard in supporting gun rights, but rather should be leading the fight to protect our 2nd Amendment rights," said Rep. Paddie. "We are committed to supporting the 2nd Amendment rights of all Texans and this bill shows our continued commitment to the 2nd Amendment, even in the face of increasing federal scrutiny."

Last session's bill received solid support, but it was introduced late in the session. Lavender believes that by introducing it earlier this session, he will be able to usher it through more effectively. 

Lucy Nashed, Deputy Press Secretary for Texas Governor Rick Perry responded my questions about the issue stating that Gov. Perry "is very supportive of concealed carry, and has a CHL himself.  Expanding that to open carry would require a lot of public discussion and legislative deliberation.  Should any bill on open carry make it through the legislative process and onto the governor's desk, he will thoughtfully review it."

As can be expected, the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) will be standing strongly beside this bill. NRA spokeswoman Jacqueline Otto told me today, "The NRA will always support law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves and their loved ones."  

Example of Level 2 Holster

Example of Level 2 Holsters from Zahl Israeli Tactical Gear

As can be expected, the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) will be standing strongly beside this bill. NRA spokeswoman Jacqueline Otto told me today, "The NRA will always support law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves and their loved ones."  

In an attempt to garner support from law enforcement, the bill contains a requirement that anyone carrying a gun openly will be required to have what is known as a "Level 2" retention holster. Level 2 requires a thumb snap in addition to at least one other retention mechanism such as a trigger guard clamp or an additional snap over the trigger guard area. This necessitates three seperate actions to draw the weapon.

Land Commissioner Jerry PattersonTexas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson was the author of the Texas Concealed Carry Law when he was a state senator. I asked Patterson about the proposed change to allow open carry. "There's no reason Texans who have a CHL shouldn't have the option to carry openly, and I support HB 700," Patterson said. "There are dozens of states that allow open carry, even by non CHL holders, without a problem. It would be reassuring to see someone with an unconcealed sidearm and know that by definition, they're not a criminal."

Several additional joint authors will be announced next week in the House, and the bill is expected to receive solid support from Republicans in the Senate according to a spokesperson in Lavender's office. The bill, most likely, will be introduced to the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. From there, it must clear the Calendar committee before coming to a vote of the full House. If it gets that far, it is expected to pass the House.

Open carry is allowed by many states across the nation.  Some states allow even non-licensed citizens to openly carry handguns. I have carried openly in New Mexico and Arizona where it is allowed by law. It is certainly a different feeling than carrying concealed, and there are many considerations you must take into consideration before doing so. That said, a law abiding citizen should be allowed the option of carrying concealed or openly.  

The predictions of gunfights in the streets and increased violent crime are simply not true. The presence of a good guy with a gun or even the threat of that presence will often deter a bad guy from doing wrong. After all, look at the number of shootings in "Gun Free Zones".

There will be much discussion on this bill from both sides. Lavender's spokesperson told me today, they have not received a single phone call in opposition to the bill. We Texans know what we want!

at Jan 25, 2013 2:31 PM


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Why do we need to have a permit to carry a handgun? Criminals don't bother with permits... Let's abolish the entire permit process and allow anyone who can legally own a gun to carry one either openly or concealed.

Texas is known for its exceptionalism, and readiness to secede at any moment, but then you look at its Jim Crow laws converting the right to self-defense to a taxed privilege...  and you wonder, what makes Texas so different from the vast majority of the States that have similar unConstitutional Carry laws?

We have to be careful with that. I agree with you, but you don't want to end up with open carry laws like California. They can stop and check your guns if and when they feel like it. It may turn into a situation where you are constantly being checked to make sure you're not a felon or criminal...I'd rather see them working on legislation to block the potential weapons bans at the federal level. I believe there is some legislation being introduced in that department. 

California abolished any right to openly carry a pistol, arguably in response to somewhat overzealous use of it to campaign for better gun laws. I fully support open carry, by the way and I hope this legislation passes although I am not a fan of the 'Level 2' requirement because many of those holsters are actually unsafe not safer.

That is a very good point!

Folks need to remember that according to the US Supreme Court, Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution and that states can prohibit concealed carry if they wish. The Texas Open Carry ban should be repealed.  http://blog.californiarighttocarry.org/ 

Blackhawk will love this.  About the only holster on the market outside of bulky police duty holsters that will fit the bill is their Serpa.  Certainly most concealed carry holsters won't.  Almost makes you wonder if the addition is to appease LE as the article states, or payback to a supporter.

I'm in favor of constitutional carry...carry openly or concealed without restriction so long as you're legally able to purchase a handgun.  I also support proposed Texas House Bill 553, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, nullifying Federal gun laws in Texas.  More at 2nd Amendment Texas, http://texas2a.org

I believe Galco has introduced a holster with a retention system. also Texas based Tucker Gun Leatger offers holsters with a thumb break retwntion strap. Also Bladetech offers non bulky holsters with a retention system as well. Hopefully Comp-Tac offers one if this passes. They are also based in Texas and has been offering high quality concealement holsters for some time.

Just a strap won't do the job.  A simple thumb break doesn't qualify as a level II retention holster.  And the Serpa, about the only non-duty holster out there that currently qualifies, is only available for a limited number of gun models.

Open carry in Texas? I certainly hope this legislation is passed. I consider myself militia against criminals that aim to harm persons or to commit crimes using force. The best defense to crime is a good guy with a gun. I hope you support this proposed legislation.

I feel that we as Texans should be able to carry openly, with or without a license, but I do support maintaining the concealed carry license as it allows Texans to continue to carry in other states that allow concealed carry. 

I grew up in Arizona where open carry has been allowed since the days of Arizona being a territory. Arizona joined the Union in 1912 so she has had open carry as a State for over 100 years. As a matter of fact, the gunfight at the OK Corral resulted from Wyatt Earp attempting to confiscate the firearms of the Clanton Bros., the rest is history.

Anyway, when I moved to Texas I was quite shocked to find how restrictive the laws were in this State for carrying handguns. I had always believed that a State that had such a reputation for conservatism and the plain old fashioned American way of life would at least allow handgun freedoms comparable to those of Arizona. Instead I found that you could only have a handgun out in the open if you were hunting or at the shooting range. You were only allowed to have a handgun in your car if you were on your way from purchasing the gun, on your way to the range, on your way to hunting, or travelling. Other than that you would end up in jail.

In Arizona, while in a car, I was required to have my handgun in the open at all times which usually meant I would have it holstered sitting on the dashboard or somewhere in the open so that if an officer came upon me he could see it immediately. Outside of the car I carried it in a holster on my belt. Though it had been law for as long as Arizona had been a State there weren't armies of people openly carrying handguns and contrary to the liberal fairy tale, there were no running gun battles with innocent bystanders being shot down in crowds.

It's time for Texas to trust her law abiding citizens. Our Southern border from El Paso to Brownsville is the main battlefield of the Mexican drug cartels and has also become the biggest entry way for all things illegal from drugs to people either seeking illegal citizenship or terrorists come to wreak havoc on America. In any case the law abiding citizens are becoming hostage to an illegal element that is threatening the very peace and safety of the State of Texas. An open carry law will be a great tool in the arsenal to fight this danger on the border.


It may be that this was all the case when you were last in Texas but actually, you can carry in your car (though it must not be plainly visible) without any licence or other restriction beyond being legally permitted to own a firearm in the first place and not being engaged in illegal activity.

You can also carry openly in various situations but none of them are legally 'public', one such is travelling another is engaged in a sport or activity that requires the use of firearms and of course we can still carry long guns largely without restriction.

I hope the state powers that be are paying attention.  I too am a CHL holder and would like the right to "Open Carry" if I chose.  The law as it now stands allows me to conceal carry but if my shirt tail or coat does not cover my carry weapon, I might be open to legal enforcement.
I probably will not open carry most of the time but would like the option.   I have always thought Texas more advanced then Oklahoma...   Now I am not too sure!!!  

What is happening about this bill?  Has it been passed?  If not, where can I find a list of everyone, both in and out of Texas State government who oppose it or voted against it?

The bill was heard before the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee on March 14, and has been left pending. Chairman Pickett expressed that he is waiting to hear from more Texans. Has he heard from YOU yet?

It stuns me that Texas Government is riding the fence on this bill. Look at the statistics around the world. Places that allow open carry have a significantly lower crime rate. Pass the Bill and feel safer, then work on arming a few faculty members in every school. Tell ALL of the Lobbyists to sit this one out!!