Legalizing Pistol OC in Texas is Only Getting Harder

Eric Reed, the President and Founder of Gun Rights Across America is less than pleased with NRA’s press release on the nonsense going on down in the Lone Star State:

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Gun owners in Texas have been screaming at the NRA for years to help pass legal open carry of a handgun, as it’s currently still illegal. Gun owners pleaded for NRA support in the 2013 session to pass H.B. 700, yet the bill was shelved, and died in committee.

After the 2013 session ended, many grassroots groups like Open Carry Texas, Come and Take it (CATI), American Gun Rights, Texas Carry, Texan Gun Rights, and Gun Rights Across America (GRAA) took matters into their own hands. A tremendous grassroots push commenced which included lawful carrying of long arms, as this is currently legal in Texas, and since the law does not permit the open carry of a handgun like so many other states already allow.

OK, so a bill got tabled in committee. That can happen. In fact, I’ve very rarely seen bills not take a few legislative sessions to get moving. You’ll typically have some skittish legislators that will take some more convincing and pressure before they’ll be OK with the bill hitting the floor. You know what doesn’t help skittish legislators? Seeing crap plastered all over the news about jackasses carrying rifles into fast food joints and home improvement stores.

You might think that legislators would make the connection, “Perhaps if we legalized pistol carry, this kind of thing would stop.” But they don’t. It just raises the anxiety level and makes them less likely to act. I’ve spent more time at political functions than is generally healthy for most people. I don’t enjoy it. But it’s important to know lawmakers and understand the behaviors and inclinations of politicus animalus.

Here’s the thing about legislators: most of them aren’t gun people. The ones that are, they are predominantly hunters, with perhaps some passing interest in the shotgun sports. Some do carry for self-protection, but they are the minority, and a lot of them who do have no problem with telling you that you can’t. Pennsylvania’s General Assembly has 253 lawmakers in it. Many of them are “sportsmen,” but I can probably count on one hand the number of them that are hard-core gun guys. Texas’ legislature might be a bit better, but I doubt by much. You’re dealing with a group of people who are exceptionally talented at two things: getting people to like them, and doing so without really saying much. These are not people born for deep conversation. To most people of that type, what OCT has been doing looks like sheer unadulterated lunacy. The only reaction political types want to get from people is a smile, and to make that connection that makes them feel pretty sure you’ll like them (and by virtue turn out for them next election). These are the types of people who, for better or worse (usually worse), that get to decide policy. These are the people you need to convince.

If legalizing open carry of pistols in Texas was an uphill climb before, it’s quickly growing into Mount Everest with every passing news story about long-gun open carry. Even if you can get it past the legislature, every Governor of Texas fancies himself President one day. Rick Perry has stated he’s wary of legalizing open carry. Rick Perry, who shot a coyote with his laser sighted pocket .380 while he was on a jog. Whether we like it or not, and I certainly don’t, Open Carry Texas, and the other rifle OC groups, are defining what OC is, and what OC means. Perry is clearly more concerned about the opposition ad potential of OCT’s behavior than he is about the people pushing legal OC in Texas through non-self-destructive channels.

I suspect there’s going to be a lot of butthurt from fringe groups flowing in the next several days about NRA’s statement. If they want to stand behind the happenings in Texas, that’s their choice. But these groups only are serving to undermine the very cause they claim to care deeply about by doing so.

33 thoughts on “Legalizing Pistol OC in Texas is Only Getting Harder”

  1. Yes it is and it is really p!$$ing me off. I’d really like to be able to carry openly. I thought we might have that opportunity with the next session, but now I get the feeling they will bury any OC bills.

  2. So tell me again about Texas’ “robust gun culture”. Why wasn’t pistol open carry law years ago? States such as Washington have had it for decades (maybe even from the beginning). It’s completely bizarre to me that Texas is still a holdout.

    1. It’s funny what human beings perceive as threatening behavior. Even in Texas, normal people think walking into your Home Depot with an AR slung on your back is threatening. Not that long ago, in pretty much any urban area in the country, people with enough situational awareness to notice had basically the same thought about your open-carried Glock; you expecting to get mugged in the produce aisle, or what, pal? That’s probably why there isn’t and has never been any criminal restriction on open carry in the otherwise-not-very-gun-friendly First State; the social norm against open carry was strong enough that nobody thought it was worthwhile to prohibit it. To your average beat cop, it may not have been against the law per se, but it fell under “disturbing the peace” or just “person acting weird enough that we’d better check him out.” Different accident of history in Texas, I would guess.

      I remember when I took my CCDW class in Delaware back in 199*mumble*, although there was a lot of discussion about the law of self-defense and deadly force, there was zero discussion of open carry or the absence of restrictions on same. It was just not something normal people did, at least as far as the instructor was concerned. And though I now usually carry concealed, I get the impression from the crowd that prefers OC (which I’m supportive of, don’t get me wrong) that the cops in urbanized northern Delaware are just now starting — maybe last decade or so — to get the message that “dude with Glock in plain view” does not necessarily mean “nut job about to go on a shooting spree.”

      I expect it’ll happen in Texas fairly soon (and I’ll be glad when it does), but agree with our host that people going around scaring the horses is probably not helping to hasten that day. But then, I never thought the ACT-UP loons in the late 80s were helping the cause of gay rights all that much.

      1. Even in Texas, normal people think walking into your Home Depot with an AR slung on your back is threatening

        Hell, the average reader of SNBQ would find that to be threatening behavior. I sure as hell would go into condition orange or red at the sight of a knucklehead with an AR-15 in public. And I’m into guns and the 2nd Amendment enough spend my free time on a gun rights blog.

        1. Certainly a lone one, yes, I’ll be quite elevating my threat assessment. Two a bit less so. A group of them I’m probably going to keep an eye on them, but mass shooters don’t usually travel in groups.

          But yeah, if you’re in a public accommodation, “Mass shooter, or attention whore?,” shouldn’t have to be part of your calculus if you’re assessing a potential threat. I’m surprised more of these guys don’t realize that.

          1. Agreed. Although I hear that the social norm in Switzerland is different, and folks just assume that the dude walking down the street with a slung long gun is on his way to the range for his military reserve requalification. Because why else would he be wandering down the street in broad daylight with a rifle, nein?

        2. Well, if it’s slung on their back and they QUIT TOUCHING IT, I only flag them as a “possible” threat. Like the guy in the Home Depot photo with the SKS. (And if the rifle if noticeably unloaded, I likely wouldn’t even flag them as a realistic “possible”.)

          When they stand around with their hand on the grip (the guy in the Home Depot photo with the AK), at the low ready (the Tapco Kid in the Chipotle photo), or even with a loaded AR (mag in and bolt closed means LOADED, children) dangling on a tacticool single point sling all decked out in camo (the Threepersaurus in the Chipotle photo), I flag them as a “probable” threat.

      2. I think pistol OC is different for a few reasons:

        1. There are parts of the US where open carry of pistols is perfectly normal and accepted.
        2. Most people tend not to notice pistol open carry.
        3. Those people who do notice tend to assume the person has some kind of authorization or reason for carrying, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it out in the open where everyone can see it.

        In this way, people can piggyback off the fact that police officers carrying firearms openly is common. Even our county detectives now wear an OC’d side arm with khakis an polos in this age business casual. It’s not as likely to cause alarm.

        Police officers don’t make a practice of carrying long guns in public unless there’s trouble afoot, and I’ve never seen cops do it out of uniform.

        1. I think pistol open carry is different for another, psychological reason. Historically, if you are really expecting an armed confrontation, you take a rifle. Otherwise, you carry a pistol.

          The sight of a group of people with rifles, people think army and some sort of imminent conflict. I think that the sight a group of people with rifles at the ready puts even pro-gun people on yellow alert.

          1. There is a HUGE difference in perception between the OC of pistols and that of long guns. That TX OC steadfastly ignores this when they could carry BP pistols makes for piss poor activism.

          2. Over the past several posts about this topic, I have noticed others pointing out that there are even certain situations where OC Rifle is normal–stopping briefly in a rural diner for dinner after going hunting, for example, or historical re-enactments.

            One of the major problems with OCT (and “OC In Your Face” in general) is that the activists don’t try to piggy-back on these norms to extend “normal” just a little bit further. They go full out, in urban places, with an “In Your Face” attitude, expecting everyone to accept their behavior as normal. Instead, for some reason, the people balk and call their representatives about the possibility of banning OC Rifle!

      3. As someone who OC’s in northern Delaware and does not yet have a CCDW, I’m willing to bet that the attitude of Delaware cops AND the average public in this state would be far, far different towards me if I started toting my AR-15 to the grocery store, or lunch, or insert other public place here. I’m also willing to bet that OC in ANY form would get banned in Delaware in a heartbeat if asshats like Open Carry Texas started doing that kind of crap here in the First State.

        Optics matter, and long gun carry, even if it’s legal, is very very bad in this regard.

        You’re not ever going to win hearts and minds with long gun OC. I mean hell, even seeing a uniformed cop carrying an AR or some other long gun in a restaurant etc. is going to make a lot of folks nervous and set off their “oh shit” alarm.

    2. Democrats controlled both houses of the Texas Legislature and of course mayor’s offices and city councils from the Depression to 1994 or so (I got here after that). Hope that explains the idiotic Texas ban on open carry of handguns clearly enough for you.

  3. Gun owners pleaded for NRA support in the 2013 session to pass H.B. 700, yet the bill was shelved, and died in committee.

    This shows the level of disconnect among these groups. If Texas has a govorner who isn’t going to sign pistol OC into law, why would the NRA waste political capital pushing a pistol OC bill that won’t become law?

  4. I don’t think calling them out encourages them because it gives them the attention they crave, it encourages them because they have their egos tied up in their tactics. They are obviously not mature, intelligent people. The more we confront them, the more defensive they get. I think they also have a bit of a persecution complex. They see themselves as the 2nd Amendment’s white knights under attack from all sides. We’re just a bunch of sheeple who don’t really believe in freedom. Of course the attention is still a factor. It’s not a coincidence that these people don’t appear to be successful in life. Holey shirts and everything. They finally feel important for the first time in their sad lives.

    Basically, we’re fucked. These people are just too stupid, and there’s no effective way to reason with them.

      1. The more I keep seeing the more I fear this is the correct interpretation as well. I don’t know that there’s a good answer here and I would not at this point be surprised if TX bans long gun open carry if these folks don’t knock it off soon.

    1. It’s more than that. For most anti-gunnies, infringing on your rights is just collateral damage in trying to restrict the rights of potential problems.

      We all agree that some people shouldn’t be free, and some people shouldn’t have guns. Serially violent criminals, some habitual drunks and junkies, people with severe violent mental disorders, young children.

      To somebody who doesn’t care much one way or the other, you’re splitting hairs when you say ‘We’re not with those jerks.”
      On the other hand, y’all are making too big a deal about this. Remember the Occupy Movement – rape, vandalism, uptwinkling, and everything else? Barely, barely. This nonsense will get less traction.

      If you want open carry, you need bags of money to fund a real game plan, not just to fund organizations dedicated to the goal of maintaining funding. You should be able to get Open Carry for pregnant women passed, because they can’t run away or fight well. Who is going to vote against pregnant women’s rights? After the law passes, get a woman to sue who might be pregnant before the right judge, and the law is expanded. Then get a postmenopausal woman to sue before the right judge, and the law is expanded. Then a gay woman, a gay man, and so on.

      If you can’t afford to buy lawyers and judges, good luck with buying legislators.

      1. Dustydog — the difference is that the media was “all in” on the motives of the Occupy movement (capitalism bad, etc.) — they are “all in” AGAINST gun rights.

        The fact that they pretty much papered over and ignored the antics of their allies who were following the “approved” meme certainly doesn’t mean they will treat those they view as enemies of the Right Thinking People(tm) the same way.

  5. “Perhaps if we legalized pistol carry, this kind of thing would stop.”

    Perhaps when that’s pointed out on ones blog if the entire gunblogosphere didn’t descend on you and scream SHUT UP they’d have some means to see there’s a portion of the pro-gun community that is OK with open carry?

  6. Impressed that the NRA published this. Now here is hoping they don’t back off it.

  7. You are exactly right. Honestly, I think unlicensed open carry is a huge step for Texas. What they should do is take incremental steps, reduce the regulations on printing, and/or effectively allow open carry by CCW holders. But what do I know. I live in MD and it takes an act of god just to get a CCW permit.

    1. In MD, do you see what Sebastian describes, cops wearing khakis and departmental polos OC’ing their sidearms? I see it in Delaware sometimes, but wonder if the social norms are that different on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line.

      1. It used to be that detectives wore suits. But that’s out of business fashion these days. Suits are good at concealing sidearms. Current business casual attire not so much. So that’s probably why departments are going more for business casual dress for detectives. Might be different in states with a more conservative business climate.

      2. I see cops on bikes wearing shorts and a sidearm, does that count?

        Otherwise, I can’t say I have ever noticed.

  8. A thought just occurred to me. Remember the scene in Lincoln where Thaddeus Stevens is forced to proclaim on the floor of Congress that black people are inferior to whites? It kills him to say so, as he believes wholeheartedly in the equality of all races. But admitting that would torpedo the 13th Amendment. He knew real world results are more important than being pure to your ideology. OCT should have a movie night and watch it.

    Btw, Tommy Lee Jones is awesome.

  9. Long gun open carry at rallies on public property, black powder pistol carry, and empty holster carry would be effective.

    What OCT is doing is not.

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