For the first time since 1871, Texans are permitted to openly carry their firearms. Beginning January 1, Texas joined the majority of the country by allowing open carry, reports The Star-Telegram.
Some predicted that the law would lead to a surge of 911 calls, but according to Cpl. Tracey Knight, spokeswoman for the Fort Worth Police Department, not much has occurred:
“We do not have anything interesting to report. Two calls so far, no issues. We have no concerns and we have had no problems.”
Sheriff Dee Anderson adds:
“I said before this became law that I thought it was going to be much ado about nothing, but I didn’t know it was going to be this much nothing.”
Carolyn Daniel, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, argues it’s “too soon to tell” what effect this law will have:
“Changes in legislation can take years to determine an impact.”
Fox News reports that a number of local businesses are now banning firearms on their premises, “as well as national chains, including Starbucks [and] Jack in The Box.” But other businesses, like Home Depot and Bass Pro Shops, have embraced open carry.
Bit if we look to another state in which open carry was signed into law, the evidence suggests the new Texas legislation will not be an issue.
Mississippi began allowing open carry on July 1, 2013. Fourteen months later, virtually no issues had arisen.
WAPT reported in September 2014:
“The Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Jackson and Byram police departments said there have been little or no incidents reported. Utica police had one incident, where a man forgot he had his weapon on, but he put it back in his truck, authorities said.”
WAPT also quoted Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong:
“We have seen several [people utilizing the open-carry law] over the last year. I would imagine somewhere between 10 and 12…
I have to admit, initially I was a bit nervous about the debate of the law and the passing of the law. But to my surprise, we have not had one single incident as it relates to open-carry.”
Some Mississippians had similar fears regarding open carry, specifically relating to open carry at bars or pubs.
Prior to the Mississippi law going into effect, Hinds County Constable Jerry Moore argued it would be “total chaos” if the law were to be implemented:
“You get enough fights at the clubs and things that we have to respond to now. Can you imagine running up into a club of 50 to 100 people and trying to get order?”
Law enforcement also has mixed feelings about the Texas law. A survey conducted by the Texas Police Chiefs Association yielded some interesting results.
When asked if they support open carry in Texas, 74.5% of the 192 respondents answered “No.”
A whopping 90.1% of respondents said those who open carry should have a concealed handgun license (CHL), and 75.9% said open carriers should have “retention training.”