Open carry has become a very controversial topic in American politics over the last several years. Many activists groups including Open Carry Texas have held open carry events at various businesses, restaurants and public locations in recent years, which has led gun control groups like Moms Demand Action (formed after the Sandy Hook school shooting) to lobby certain businesses to completely ban firearms from their premises. Several businesses have complied with this request. In late 2013, Starbucks announced that guns were no longer welcome at their stores, citing the recent controversy. Last summer, restaurant chains Sonic and Chili’s issued statements that guns were no longer allowed in their stores. Of course, some businesses have gone in the opposite direction, voicing their support for gun owners. Despite the cries of Moms Demand Action and other groups, grocery chain Kroger recently decided to allow gun owners to responsibly carry their firearms in their stores.
Regardless of individual businesses and their policies regarding firearms, however, laws in most states still allow open carry in public. In fact open carry is currently only forbidden in Washington, D.C. and six other states. One of the states that still forbids citizens from open carrying in public is Texas and several activists rallied this past weekend to change that.
For decades, Texas has been regarded as a “red state,” usually leaning towards the conservative side on most social and political issues. Five out of the last seven governors of the state have been Republicans and since 1980, the Republican candidate for president has won the state in every single election, with the last Democrat to win the state being Jimmy Carter in 1976. That’s why it might come as a shocker to many that Texas is one of the few states that still band open carry.
“People always ask, ‘Why do you need to do this?'” Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works, said in an interview with KVUE News Saturday. “‘Why do you need to carry that gun?’ Well, you know what, it’s not called the bill of needs, it’s called the Bill of Rights.”
The rally for open carry was held at the state capitol on Saturday and many advocates are optimistic, considering that last year, Governor Greg Abbott pledged to sign an open carry bill before he was even inaugurated as governor.