Not everyone in Texas is a fan of open carry. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is among those who believe allowing citizens to carry firearms openly in public is a bad idea.
On Tuesday, in an open (pun intended) address on Twitter, Acevedo explained why he thinks open carry, but more specifically an amendment to the open carry bill, HB 910, that would prohibit police from stopping individuals who are carrying openly and haven’t committed a crime is a threat to public safety.
“Yesterday’s amendment to Texas’ Open Carry Legislation is beyond belief and Aiken [sic] to open season for gang members, drug cartels, outlaw motor cycle gangs and any other criminal or extremist to defy the law with impunity, just brilliannt! If criminals, drug cartels, and extremists had a seat at the policy writing table they couldn’t have come up with s better Amendment,” wrote the Chief.
“By prohibiting law enforcement from stopping or detaining to check for CHL, Texas is authorizing within our state lines any and all criminals to carry a firearm,” he continued. “My heart goes out to domestic violence victims and the victims of violent crimes in our State. Through this amendment we are facilitating the victimization of the people we are sworn to serve, protect and lead.”
Acevedo went on to say that ISIS sympathizers, Klan members and Black Panthers would be able to descend on the Capitol “armed with firearms authorized by Open-Carry.” He concluded his criticism of the HB 910 by saying, “Why bother common sense has officially died and writing any further would be fruitless.”
Yet proponents of the bill and the amendment don’t foresee or anticipate the problems that Chief Acevedo does. Gun store owner Michael Cargill said it should be rather easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
“You will know a bad guy versus a good guy with a gun. The bad guy with a gun is going to be the one that’s shooting at you. The good guy with a gun is going to be the one that’s holding some groceries,” Cargill explained to MyFoxAustin.
State Rep. James White who helped author HB 910 and also backed the controversial amendment, says he is open to discussing the matter further with law enforcement.
“We need to be sensitive to the challenges of our law enforcement about this and…again that’s an amendment. So that is one issue that will be part of the conference committee discussion. It may stay, it may not. We’ll see,” said White.
I support open carry more in principle than in practice. I believe one should have the right to do so, but I also think that concealed carry is a better option. I don’t want others to know, specifically bad guys, that I’m carrying. By open carrying, you take away the element of surprise, which is a huge advantage in almost every defensive gun use scenario. I know, open carry advocates would argue that a visible firearm is a crime deterrent. While that may be true for the novice criminal, it may also be a “shoot-him-first” sign to the savvy evildoer.
Putting the whole open versus concealed carry debate aside, I think it’s only a matter of time before the Lone Star State legalizes open carry.