Group argues for plain view carrying of licensed handguns in Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Group argues for plain view carrying of licensed handguns in Texas

The right to openly bear arms - one group says that if other states allow their citizens to do it, why not Texas? They're getting the word out and hoping to change that soon. As KLTV 7's Layron Livingston tells us, the fight to legally and publicly carry your handgun is heating up, and the idea is gaining support in some circles.

Their website now touts a more than 30,000 petition signatures, all in favor of allowing Texans to wear their guns openly. 

Organizers of opencarry.org claim a right 'unexercised, is a right lost'. That's why they hope more people will proudly bear their handguns. We caught up with co-founder Mike Stollenwerk by phone.

"Texas is, oddly, very pro-gun on the one hand, but very restrictive on the carry of handguns. The absolute requirement in Texas to conceal at all times, even if you're at someone else's house, is onerous...what we're saying is you should have the right to choose," said Stollenwerk.

Texas is currently one of six states - along with New York, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina where handguns can't be worn in plain view. Under state law, residents can apply for a concealed handgun license.

"When we first cast the concealed carry bill here in Texas, people thought the world was going to end...here in Texas, they thought you were going to have shootouts in every city...and of course, this hasn't happened," said Stollenwerk.

State Representative Leo Berman says he doesn't know of any specific bills which have been filed, but he says it's something he would consider.

"In the past, there isn't a gun bill that I haven't supported," said Berman. "I believe very strongly in our second amendment rights."

And so does local gun store owner Mack Woods.

"I don't think they necessarily meant they had to be concealed when they said keep and bear arms," said Woods.

Gun owner Marsha Smith disagrees.

"If you haven't gone to the classes and you're not a certified officer, you shouldn't just be walking around with your gun showing," said Smith.

And the battle continues.

Tell us what you think of the concealed carry vs. open carry argument by taking the poll above or on our homepage at kltv.com.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com

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