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Texas passes open-carry law in huge win for advocates of self-defense, liberty and the US Constitution


Open carry laws

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(NaturalNews) The GOP-led Texas legislature has passed a measure that would allow law-abiding Texas residents to openly carry holstered side arms.

As reported by The Texas Tribune, House Bill 910, introduced by Rep. Larry Phillips, a Republican lawmaker from Sherman, passed on third reading. The Senate passed similar legislation in March; Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to sign open-carry legislation.

There were some minor differences in the House and Senate versions of the legislation, but those were expected to be ironed out and a final measure forwarded to Abbott for signature.

Two Democrats - Reps. Rafael Anchia of Dallas and Chris Turner of Arlington, introduced separate but similar amendments that would have allowed larger Texas cities to opt out of open carry but both of those failed.

Texas one of a handful of states that does not allow open carry - yet

One amendment that succeeded was aimed at preventing racial profiling by police, according to Courthouse News Service. That section, "Certain Investigatory Stops and Inquiries Prohibited," says, in part:

A peace officer may not make an investigatory stop or other temporary detention to inquire as to whether a person possesses a handgun license solely because the person is carrying a partially or wholly visible handgun carried in a shoulder or belt holster.

That amendment was written by Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, a criminal defense attorney.

A number of Democrats are opposed to open carry, which is generally been the case in every state that has either introduced or adopted such laws. Some police officials in larger cities in Texas also were opposed to the legislation.

Dutton said his measure was meant to address the issue of how to distinguish a gun-carrying criminal from a law-abiding citizen during a traffic stop, and to prevent police from racially profiling suspects.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo denounced the law, calling it, "open season for armed criminals and extremists." In the past, however, similar claims were made regarding concealed carry laws, but those predictions have failed to materialize.

As for the Texas law, only those with existing concealed carry permits will be allowed to openly carry a side arm. Supporters of the measure point out that criminals already ignore the state's existing gun laws and wouldn't be deterred or affected one way or the other by the open-carry legislation; the difference is, with the law on the books, Texans will be better able to protect themselves. Also, supporters note that the visible presence of handguns may act as a deterrent to crime.

Interestingly, at present, Texas is one of six states that prohibit open-carry of handguns. Indeed, the state has a long history of banning open carry; in fact, Texas was one of the first states to do so.

Open carry reestablishes freedom

As noted by the Houston Chronicle, Texas state government banned open-carry - or any carry of handguns - in the immediate post-Civil War era, and for obvious racist reasons.

"One of the noticeable goals was to ensure that black people did not shoot back to the guys in the white hoods," Clayton Cramer, an author and historian who has written extensively on the selective enforcement of early gun laws, told the paper. "A great many of the southern states relied on the fact that they could enforce these laws fairly arbitrarily."

Prior to the Civil War, Texas government had no restrictions on firearms at all. The Texas Constitution of 1845, in fact, established the absolute right for every citizen "to keep and bear arms, in the lawful defense of himself and the State." A ban on dueling was the only gun restriction.

As for slaves, many of them could be seen carrying firearms as they walked along side their owners, and that was especially the case in rural areas.

"While many southern states outlawed slaves possessing firearms, Texas was a little more liberal on that. And I don't think it was because we were nobler," former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a gun enthusiast, collector and history buff, told the Chronicle. "I think it was because we had a frontier and we had people who wanted to kill us on that frontier."

But despite all of that, what open carry does is reestablish the freedom that Americans - Texans and all others - ought to have to protect and defend themselves and the nation. And that ought to be something almost everyone can embrace.

Sources:

www.texastribune.org

http://www.courthousenews.com

http://www.houstonchronicle.com

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