On Monday, handgun open carry legislation moved one step closer to Texas law after it passed the Texas State Senate.
Senate Bill 17 would allow citizens with concealed carry permits to open carry handguns.
The 20-11 vote was unsurprisingly divided on party lines with 20 Republicans voting in favor and 11 Democrats voting against the bill.
The bill needs to then pass the Texas House, and then it will ultimately land on the governor’s desk.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has made it clear that he will sign an open carry bill if it is sent to his desk.
I’m warming up my signing pen: Texas Legislature Ready to Move Forward on Open Carry Bill http://t.co/cJJfbmgE87#tcot#txlege@NRA
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 16, 2015
BenSwann.com has covered the open carry movement for years (see here, here, here and here) and it appears that grassroots activists are finally seeing their dreams come true. Texas activists have worked diligently on getting this bill passed; some even were arrested for standing up for their right to carry firearms.
Though handgun open carry is a positive step in the right direction, it is just a first step. Constitutional carry is what many activists want in Texas.
Justin Delosh, executive director for Come and Take It Texas, said that the government shouldn’t be making money off of gun permits.
“We support the right to concealed carry and the right to open carry. We think it’s unethical for the state to profit off a person’s ability to defend themselves. So we’re pushing for both without a permit,” Delosh said.
“Constitutional Carry means that if you’re legally allowed to possess the firearm, you should be able to carry it openly or concealed without a permit,” Delosh said.
Since the right to bear arms is part of our Constitution, requiring citizens to need a permit or have state-mandated training is unethical.
“We’re all for more training, we’d love to see everybody get more training. But to make it state-mandated, to me it’s just unethical,” Delosh said.
Joshua Cook interviews Kory Watkins, Coordinator Open Carry Tarrant County in an exclusive interview below: