By Charles Nichols – President of California Right To Carry
Texas Handgun Open Carry Bill En Route to Governor
Nearly one year to the day later, both houses of the Texas legislature have passed a bill which would make it legal to openly carry a modern, loaded handgun in public, albeit with a Texas handgun carry license. The NRA is now claiming victory for something they have opposed for years, in fact, decades – Openly carrying loaded firearms in public for the purpose of self-defense (Open Carry).
The NRA almost killed the Texas Open Carry Bill (HB 910) with its opposition to the language in the bill which would make it clear to police that a person who is merely openly carrying a handgun does not constitute probable cause, or reasonable suspicion, that a crime has been committed and therefore they may not stop that person unless they have probable cause to believe that the person is committing a crime.
That language was removed from the final version of the bill. Now, thanks to the NRA, there are going to be a lot of police officers who think that they get to stop anyone they see openly carrying a handgun and demand to see their license. People, particularly minorities, will now be harassed by police and there will be arrests even of licensed persons for failing to comply or other frivolous charges.
Anyone who thinks the NRA is going to pay for their attorneys has been living under a rock. And let us not forget that the 1967 California ban on openly carrying loaded firearms the NRA helped write contains a provision authorizing police to stop, search and seize a person and his firearm to inspect it to see if it is unloaded. The police thanked the author of the California bill for including that language because it allows them to search Black people without fear of being accused of harassment.
On June 16, 2015 NRA lawyer Paul Clement will appear before an en banc panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals where he will argue to uphold California’s 1967 ban on openly carrying loaded firearms. A ban the NRA helped write and a ban that the NRA has been defending these past five years in Federal court. Not to mention the NRA’s defense of the California Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995 which the NRA said in its Opening Brief in Peruta v. San Diego that the overturning of which would be “drastic.”
You won’t hear about this from the liberal press because liberal reporters like the idea of the NRA ripping off its members who support Open Carry by publicly, and falsely, claiming to have always been in the forefront of the fight for Open Carry while at the same time opposing Open Carry where it counts the most, in courtrooms and in legislatures.
The conservative press won’t report it because, let’s face it, none of them has the courage to openly carry a firearm in public. Those who want to carry a firearm want to carry a handgun and to carry the handgun concealed.
And the libertarian press won’t report this because they are fixated on legalizing drugs.
The current Texas ban on carrying modern, loaded handguns stems from April 1871 when Texas was under Union occupation and the Radical, Unionist Texas government then in control didn’t want all of those former Confederate soldiers and newly freed Blacks carrying handguns, openly or concealed. And so Texas banned the carrying of concealable firearms in public.
Under current Texas law it is legal to openly carry antique handguns and modern firing reproductions of muzzle-loading antique handguns but it is illegal to openly carry modern handguns which use metallic cartridges. It has always been legal to openly carry modern long guns in Texas, both loaded and unloaded.
Once Texas Governor Abbott (a Republican) has signed the bill into law, and he has repeatedly said that he will sign it, the new law, which was overwhelmingly passed with Republican votes, goes into effect on January 1, 2016.
“[A] right to carry arms openly: ‘This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.'” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809
“[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms (art. 2) is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons…” Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 US 275 – Supreme Court (1897) at 282.
“In Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846), the Georgia Supreme Court construed the Second Amendment as protecting the ‘natural right of self-defence’ and therefore struck down a ban on carrying pistols openly. Its opinion perfectly captured the way in which the operative clause of the Second Amendment furthers the purpose announced in the prefatory clause, in continuity with the English right … Likewise, in State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 490 (1850), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that citizens had a right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.'” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2809
“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152-153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489-490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251…” District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008) at 2816
Charles Nichols is the President of California Right To Carry