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Texas Police Brace for New Open-Carry Law | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Texas Police Brace for New Open-Carry Law

On January 1, 2016, Texas will become the newest state that allows citizens to openly carry their handguns (open carry of long guns was already permitted in Texas).  This is part of the nationwide trend towards the freer exercise of Second Amendment rights that is unlikely to reverse itself anytime soon. Although Texas chose to take baby steps towards the full exercise of the right to carry openly by requiring permits, other states have already opted to allow open-carry without a permit.

Mass shootings have become a normal occurrence, both inside and outside of the United States. Regardless of your personal stance on the matter of guns and gun control, it’s difficult to ignore the vast number of shootings have occurred where guns are either not typically carried or forbidden by law.

Debates on the scope of the Second Amendment have been discussed in the media ad nauseam.  A forty-six page article written in the Yale Law Journal, provides a cogent presentation of the intent of the Second Amendment.

In examining relevant court decisions, the agreement is clear that self-defense was the primary purpose of the right itself. The need to defend oneself doesn’t begin and end inside of the home, thus creating the need to carry firearms outside of the home.

Pertinent court cases and historical analysis indicate that the Second Amendment guarantees only the right to open-carry and not conceal-carry. This brings us back to open-carry laws, specifically the approaching Texas law, and how it affects law enforcement.

Open CarryCarrying a firearm in the open, which in the case of Texas law will be only in a shoulder or belt holster, is unpopular to many, including some in law enforcement. It can be unnerving to see someone with a gun since you don’t know if he or she is friend or foe.

The first few months of the new law will bring about many different issues that law enforcement will have to face. First, there will be terrified citizens calling in about armed gunmen for which law enforcement will have to respond. There will be plenty of upset citizens who do not like feeling they have been thrown into the Wild West and will demand law enforcement take some sort of action – which, of course, they can’t.

Second, there will be over-the-top-gun-rights people who try to goad law enforcement into doing something that they believe infringes on their Constitutional rights – and you can bet your Christmas cookies it will end up on youtube.

Third, there will be confusion among law enforcement who do not want to step on Constitutional toes but who also don’t want to get shot. Law enforcement officers have been trained since the beginning of their careers to disarm people with guns.  Now, in situations other than lawful detentions, they cannot simply detain and disarm. Officers will be staring back at someone who has a gun on their hip just as they do, which takes away the measure of comfort they may normally have.

To avoid mass confusion, law enforcement officials should be working tirelessly, as many already are, to educate their officers and the community about the upcoming law. Knowledge is power and certainly calming in potentially volatile situations. There should be no doubt in the minds of officers what they can and cannot do. The community must also be well informed through the media and social media about the new law. There should be no surprise for citizens when they see someone with a holstered handgun.

The new open carry law in Texas will take some getting used to. Preparation is key. It’s also good to know that, after the initial “Look at me, I get to carry a gun” wave, most people will settle back into the more discreet concealed carry that Texas has enjoyed for many years without any notable problems.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Laura Samples

Laura Samples has over 18 years of law enforcement experience and currently serves as a police lieutenant in Texas. She is a graduate of the Leadership Command College from LEMIT at Sam Houston State University, a graduate of the Denver Paralegal Institute, and has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management, from Fort Hays State University.She is also a veteran of the U.S. Army where she served as a Military Police Officer in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Laura Samples
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