Continuing to use failed tactics is not a recipe for success.
Texas law changed on January 1, 2016 such that people with a Texas License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) can now carry their handguns openly, so long as they are in a belt or shoulder holster. There are exceptions that apply to public and private colleges and universities, as well as private property when owners give effective notice pursuant to Tex. Penal Code §30.07.
Carrying a handgun in a belt or shoulder holster without concealing it is commonly referred to as “open-carry.” It is now legal because the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) and its state affiliate, the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), were successful in passing HB910 in the 2015 Texas Legislative Session. They were able to do so in spite of counterproductive in-your-face tactics used by so-called “open-carry groups” that repeatedly made the evening TV news as well as countless Internet news and editorial articles.
These groups condemned any and all bills that would allow only LTCs to open-carry. That is, they did so right up to the point it was clear that their two unlicensed open-carry bills were not even going to get a committee hearing. After the 2015 Texas Legislative Session was over, these groups falsely claimed credit for passing the NRA’s HB910, in spite of having denounced all bills that required a License to carry a handgun.
After HB910 passed and before it went into effect on January 1, 2016, these same “open-carry groups” not only claimed credit for the NRA/TSRA success, they denied, and still deny, that their ill-advised tactics are responsible for some number of businesses posting 30.07 signs prohibiting open-carry and 30.06 signs that prohibit concealed-carry. There is clear evidence that Bloomberg-supported anti-gun groups are lying to business owners and the public by claiming that, in order to prohibit open-carry, they must post both 30.07 and 30.06 signs. They have used the negative news reports and video coverage of counterproductive tactics to support their campaign of deception. They have been only marginally successful, but that is largely due to town hall meetings hosted by law enforcement agencies and district attorneys. During such meetings, the sponsoring agencies repeatedly noted that LTCs are the most law-abiding of Texans, thus blunting the anti-gun lies.
HB910 passed and open-carry came to Texas because the NRA and TSRA approached the issue in a statesmanlike manner as we do in every legislative session. Our members and the majority of Texas gun owners got involved and contacted their Senators and Representatives ever mindful of the need to be respectful and professional in their approach. Newly posted 30.06 signs, and even some 30.07 signs, are already being removed from businesses because Texas gun owners are engaging in respectful and productive conversations with business owners and explaining the excellent track record garnered by LTCs for over 20 years. They are not marching in front of their stores, nor are they threatening them with economic retribution. They are communicating as mature adults seeking a resolution to an issue. This is the pathway to success. One cannot win another to their side of an issue through threats and intimidation.
There is an old saying that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who are old enough to have seen at least one gray hair in the mirror have probably seen the wisdom of this age-old adage. Unfortunately, some will let their pride or personal ambition obscure the obvious. Thankfully, they are few in number and all Texans must heed the lessons learned in the quest to pass open-carry. Let us learn from history and put aside counterproductive tactics that only serve to make the goal more difficult to achieve.
Some readers may find the following articles illustrative of the tactics referenced herein: