Now it looks like another state, Texas, is most likely going to pass a law that open carry of handguns is permitted. They currently have a law about concealed carry and where you can openly carry rifles and shotguns but not handguns. But what does that really mean to the average gun owner?
I like to think of everything with regard to how this affects the average citizen and gun owner. To most, being able to openly carry a firearm isn’t that big of deal…especially if you can already carry a concealed firearm. But wait…what happens if you now carry the open firearm but don’t have a concealed carry permit. You’re in trouble. This is the problem with many of the gun laws that are being passed at the state level. You think you understand it but then it can come back to bite you if you don’t.
In the case of this new law in Texas, you might think that you will have the right to walk down the street toting your firearm. That wouldn’t be entirely correct. If you decided to do this and you didn’t have a concealed carry permit, you could be arrested for brandishing. This is yet another case where there are aspects of the law that are important for every gun owner to understand before taking it upon them to do something different. Check out the new laws…talk to a gun law attorney…just make sure you do your homework before heading down the street with an open firearm.
The second issue that arises when this is the law is for the police. The issue police have is that when they are called to a scene, they are looking for weapons and want to neutralize any potential threat. If you happen to be in the area and have a visible firearm, you are considered to be a potential threat to the police until they know otherwise. By all means, if you are carrying an open firearm, please comply with whatever the police officer asks of you because they have a job to do and this is not the time to try and state your rights.
The best advice in this situation is to stand there and do whatever the police officer asks you to do until they can determine you are not the potential threat. They will figure this out but they have to do it their way. You risk your safety if you decide to take another stand on this issue. Just let them do their job and it will support your rights to carry a firearm legally. If you are unsure of what states have “open carry laws”, there is a great list in the Open Carrying Policy Summary. Here it lists every state and what their current policy is in this area. Check this out and see what states are on it and in which categories. This is especially helpful if you are transporting a firearm to a different state.
So use your common sense when you decide to do something with your firearm. Open carry if that is what you really want to do and understand the law. If you have questions, give me a call and I would be happy to clarify this for you as well. Be respectful of the law and understanding the law are critical components for being a good citizen and gun owner.