E. Texas gun rights supporters weigh in on proposed open carry bills

E. Texas gun rights supporters weigh in on proposed open carry bills
In Texas, you can only have a handgun in public if you’re licensed and it’s concealed, but gun rights activists like Stephen Lee say that should change. (Source: KLTV Staff)
In Texas, you can only have a handgun in public if you’re licensed and it’s concealed, but gun rights activists like Stephen Lee say that should change. (Source: KLTV Staff)
CHL instrcutor Robert Quates says unlicensed open carry could be dangerous. (Source: KLTV Staff)
CHL instrcutor Robert Quates says unlicensed open carry could be dangerous. (Source: KLTV Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Pro-gun lawmakers and activists are pushing for legislation to allow Texans to carry handguns openly.

Open-carry legislation failed in 2013, but several bills have already been filed in advance of the upcoming legislative session. In Texas, you can only have a handgun in public if you're licensed and it's concealed, but gun rights activists like Stephen Lee say that should change.

“It's a natural right. Our founding document really isn't the constitution, it's the Declaration of Independence. Our forefathers in that document expressed that there are certain inalienable rights given to us by our Creator, not the government,” he says.

By law, long guns like rifles and shotguns can be carried openly, but Texas is one of six states that specifically outlaws the open carrying of handguns.

“It's a much broader issue than just the idea of openly carrying a handgun or a long gun. It really becomes a natural rights issue. I believe that we all have a natural right to defend ourselves and be prepared to defend ourselves,” says Lee.

The six bills that will go before the legislature include two different versions of the proposed law. Representative Dan Flynn's house bill 106 would allow license holders to carry handguns, concealed or openly.

“My thoughts are pretty much that if you have a CHL license, then we'll allow you to have an open carry because the security checks are there, the FBI checks are there,” says Flynn in a telephone interview.

House Bill 195, on the other hand, would allow unlicensed open carry.

“Unlicensed carry would be what some would call constitutional carry hinging on the idea that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed and so a lot of people view that license as an infringement on that right that's expressed in the constitution,” says Lee.

But concealed handgun license instructor Robert Quates says that's a bad idea.

“If you can't pass a background check, one, you shouldn't be carrying a gun, but two, if people are open carrying they should be required to have a license,” he says.

He supports open carry, but says there should still be a focus on safety.

“People need to be trained and you can't just assume everybody's going to go out and get trained. Most people won't do that and that's a really dangerous situation because they don't know what they're doing,” says Quates.

Pro-gun lawmakers and activists are pushing for legislation to allow Texans to carry handguns openly. Open carry legislation failed in 2013, but several bills have already been filed in advance of the upcoming legislative session. In Texas, you can only have a handgun in public if you're licensed and it's concealed, but gun rights activists like Stephen Lee say that should change.

"It's a natural right. Our founding document really isn't the constitution, it's the declaration of independence. Our forefathers in that document expressed that there are certain inalienable rights given to us by our creator, not the government," he says.

By law, long guns like rifles and shotguns can be carried openly, but Texas is one of six states that specifically outlaws the open carrying of handguns.

"It's a much broader issue than just the idea of openly carrying a handgun or a long gun. It really becomes a natural rights issue. I believe that we all have a natural right to defend ourselves and be prepared to defend ourselves," says Lee.

The six bills that will go before the legislature include two different versions of the proposed law. Representative Dan Flynn's house bill 106 would allow license holders to carry handguns, concealed or openly.

"My thoughts are pretty much that if you have a CHL license, then we'll allow you to have an open carry because the security checks are there, the FBI checks are there," says Flynn in a telephone interview.

House bill 195, on the other hand, would allow unlicensed open carry.

"Unlicensed carry would be what some would call constitutional carry hinging on the idea that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed and so a lot of people view that license as an infringement on that right that's expressed in the constitution," says Lee.

But concealed handgun license instructor Robert Quates says that's a bad idea.

"If you can't pass a background check, one, you shouldn't be carrying a gun, but two, if people are open carrying they should be required to have a license," he says.  

He supports open carry, but says there should still be a focus on safety.

"People need to be trained and you can't just assume everybody's going to go out and get trained. Most people won't do that and that's a really dangerous situation because they don't know what they're doing," says Quates.

Pro-gun lawmakers and activists are pushing for legislation to allow Texans to carry handguns openly. Open carry legislation failed in 2013, but several bills have already been filed in advance of the upcoming legislative session. In Texas, you can only have a handgun in public if you're licensed and it's concealed, but gun rights activists like Stephen Lee say that should change.

“It's a natural right. Our founding document really isn't the constitution, it's the declaration of independence. Our forefathers in that document expressed that there are certain inalienable rights given to us by our creator, not the government,” he says.

By law, long guns like rifles and shotguns can be carried openly, but Texas is one of six states that specifically outlaws the open carrying of handguns.

“It's a much broader issue than just the idea of openly carrying a handgun or a long gun. It really becomes a natural rights issue. I believe that we all have a natural right to defend ourselves and be prepared to defend ourselves,” says Lee.

The six bills that will go before the legislature include two different versions of the proposed law. Representative Dan Flynn's house bill 106 would allow license holders to carry handguns, concealed or openly.

“My thoughts are pretty much that if you have a CHL license, then we'll allow you to have an open carry because the security checks are there, the FBI checks are there,” says Flynn in a telephone interview.

House bill 195, on the other hand, would allow unlicensed open carry.

“Unlicensed carry would be what some would call constitutional carry hinging on the idea that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed and so a lot of people view that license as an infringement on that right that's expressed in the constitution,” says Lee.

But concealed handgun license instructor Robert Quates says that's a bad idea.

“If you can't pass a background check, one, you shouldn't be carrying a gun, but two, if people are open carrying they should be required to have a license,” he says.  

He supports open carry, but says there should still be a focus on safety.

“People need to be trained and you can't just assume everybody's going to go out and get trained. Most people won't do that and that's a really dangerous situation because they don't know what they're doing,” says Quates. 

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