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Pro-Con: Should Texas open carry laws be expanded?

By Bianca Montes
May 4, 2014 at 12:04 a.m.
Updated May 5, 2014 at 12:05 a.m.

Supporters of the Victoria chapter of Open Carry Texas march down North Navarro Street during a demonstration to publicize and promote the right of Texas residents to openly carry rifles and certain relic firearms in public.

Texas Constitution

ARTICLE I, SECTION 23: RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the state, but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.

A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun if the person is not:

On the person's own premises or premises under the person's control.

Inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control

A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control at any time in which:

The handgun is in plain view; or

The person is engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic; prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; or a member of a criminal street gang.

Texas Penal Code 46 states a firearm is defined as any device designed, made or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use. Firearm doesn't include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is:

An antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899; or

A replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica doesn't use rim fire or center fire ammunition.

About 10 people - rifles in tow - gathered on the northern end of Navarro Street in March.

It was the first time the Open Carry Texas group convened in Victoria to stick up for what they believe to be a constitutional right to openly carry all of their weapons.

Texas law allows them to openly carry only pre-1899 black powder antique guns and rifles but not their handguns.

The group huddled again in late April to walk down North Navarro Street with plans to continue their march monthly until the law changes.

Currently, 44 states in the United States allow open carry - Texas is not one.

Texas law states that it's an offense if a person "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun."

Should open carry laws be expanded in Texas?

Pro: Open carry promotes sense of safety

Con: Open carry promotes fear

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