North Texas Daily

No one freak out, open carry and campus carry are completely different

No one freak out, open carry and campus carry are completely different

No one freak out, open carry and campus carry are completely different
January 02
17:24 2016

Harrison Long | Opinion Editor

@HarrisonGLong

On Jan. 1, open carry became legal in our fair Lone Star State in an attempt to curb the problem of gun violence.

While Texas is not the first state to implement open carry, “the practice of openly carrying a firearm on one’s person in public,” many are treating it as if we have found and administered the solution. But open carry is not campus carry, the ability to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Campus carry goes into effect in August.

Concerns have been raised and fingers pointed at other states with legal open carry, by both sides, in an effort to dissuade their opposition.

One instance of the legislation having little effect, but rather allowing gun violence to occur, is with the Halloween shooting in Colorado Springs this past October. Naomi Bettis phoned police to inform them that her neighbor was walking around in public with a rifle strapped to his back. The dispatcher reminded Bettis that open carry was legal and the man well within his rights, and dismissed the call.

Shortly after, Bettis called again asking for assistance; shooter Noah Harpham began firing on civilians in public, killing three before being taken out by police.

This instance isn’t to frighten, but to showcase some real concerns that not only average citizens, but law enforcement may face in the implementation of open carry statewide, and then with the advent of campus carry on Aug. 1.

A distinction should be made between the two.

Open carry, although only requiring the same license that will be needed for one to participate in campus carry later this year, still has many limitations. Sporting events, hospitals, and lower-level schools will all still be gun free zones, and private property owners may bar practitioners of the law from openly carrying firearms at their discretion.

Those who disregard the wishes of property owners may be arrested and charged with unlawful carry, and thus lose their license to do so. All pistols must be holstered and all rifles equipped with a strap for the open carrier to be considered legally compliant.

Any and all firearms are banned from a location which receives more than half of its revenue from alcohol sales, and open carry is only permissible in public areas of airports and entirely unlawful past security checkpoints.

The process for acquiring a Concealed Handgun License, now simply a LTC or License to Carry, has not changed: any individual seeking such must pass a background check, take a classroom course and qualify at a range.

It should be noted that the city of Denver, despite Colorado’s adherence to open carry law, has barred the practice within its city limits entirely. Concerned Texans should understand that laws can be amended and appealed, and many who are fighting to overturn the open carry law are doing the same in fighting for a path public universities can take to opt out of the concealed carry practice that will go into effect in August.

What seems to be the problem is that lawmakers with opposing viewpoints are incapable of engaging in a dialogue to find common ground, and just as pro gun groups shout the loudest that guns aren’t the problem, those looking to bring stricter laws are unable find a reasonable way to police them.

In some cases, studies are linking carry laws to a decrease in gun violence, but the same can be said on the flip side.

In our polarized state, its easy then to see how such legislation might be passed in the face of a large percentage being opposed.

While this legislation is most certainly not doomsday for our already gun-laden state, and it would be pertinent to say that if one was able to survive the previous year of gun violence, the same resolve should be called upon to fair 2016.

As the British used to say during World War II, “Keep calm and carry on.”

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1 Comment

  1. SamraJB
    SamraJB January 03, 21:43

    Solid research and reporting here. Thank you. I’m no fan of either campus carry or open carry but I don’t think panicking about either is a solution. We all need to be reasonable about this.

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