Texans Prepare for Open Carry Law

Bill Clark
photo from defensivecarry.com.Luis M. Alvarez

On the first day of the new year, Texas' new open-carry law goes into effect, letting residents carry handguns in holsters in plain view for the first time in 140 years.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law last June, which will allow Texans to carry in holsters on their belt or in shoulder holsters. Concealed carry licenses have been issued in Texas since 1995, but open carry was banned as part of a post-Civil War prohibition meant to disarm former Confederate soldiers and freed slaves.

Though the state has made it legal, it will still be up to individual businesses after Jan. 1 to decide if they will allow open carry, and some are struggling with the decision.

In this Fox News story, a representative from the Gringo's restaurant chain said they won't allow customers to carry openly in their 14 locations in the Houston area and surrounding counties.

"We're primarily a family environment in terms of our restaurant. And so we decided it's probably best not to allow open carry," said Al Flores, counsel for the chain. "We just felt that knowing our customers, allowing someone to walk in openly carrying a weapon, it would make them feel a little uncomfortable."

Signs will be posted at the locations in English and Spanish warning customers of the prohibition.

Others are reacting differently to the impending change.

The First Baptist Church of Arlington, which sees about 2,500 worshippers each Sunday, will allow open carry, according to the story.

"We decided it was best to allow responsible people to do this if they choose," said Senior Pastor Dennis Wiles, "We will probably assess the situation in a couple of months to see how it goes. When it comes to church, I don't think we're going to see that much difference."

Others are ready to make a fashion statement with their new-found freedom to openly display their firearms in public, according to this story from McClatchy. The story says the new law is a chance for all shooters to show off custom or fancy holsters or custom handgun coatings and colors.

"Fashion is important to women," said Carrie Lightfoot, owner of The Well Armed Woman. "It's part of who we are. Look at our homes and cars. We basically decorate everything."

"I think there's an appeal, when you go to the range, to pull out a firearm that looks different from everyone else," said Cheryl Coburn in the story. She's a digital marketing manager for the Oregon-Based NIC Industries, which has a Cerakote division. "Not everyone wants the standard black."

"Women are really serious about this topic," said Lightfoot in the story. Her Well Armed Woman sells handgun accessories and directs women to gun training classes. "It's not like buying a piece of jewelry. It's buying a tool that could take the life of someone if they have to use it."