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Texas is looking to further cement itself as a bastion of 2nd Amendment rights and gun culture by allowing for the open carry of handguns in the state. If Texas repeals the Reconstruction-era ban on openly carrying handguns, it will be the largest American state to allow open carry of handguns.
These initiatives are supported both by Republicans in the state legislature and by Governor-elect Greg Abbott. Abbott said that, after his election last month, “If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas”, according to the Associated Press.
Abbott has promised to sign one of more than six bills ending the ban if it reaches his desk. Although Texas has a reputation for pro-gun policies, it and number of other large states have thus far kept open carry of handguns illegal in part due to concerns with urban crime.
Texas’ ban dates back to Reconstruction, when carpetbaggers in charge of the state were worried about violence between ex-Confederates and freedmen being abetted by openly carried handguns. Outside of the ban, Texas maintains some of the most gun-friendly policies in the nation, from licensing to regulations for manufacturers, who have been urged by Gov. Rick Perry to relocate to the state.
Notably, open carry of long guns such as rifles is allowed, and rallies about guns have been held inside the Capitol. Concealed handgun with licenses can bypass the metal detectors at the Capitol provided they have the proper documentation. Texas currently has around 811,000 concealed handgun license holders according to the AP.
Of the various bills proposed to overturn the open carry handgun ban, only one would also eliminate licensing for those guns. Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) told the AP that “The idea is we’re going to return our Second Amendment rights.”
Featured image from Shutterstock
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