For those who do not pay close attention to insider politics in Texas, both parties' likely candidates for governor have now endorsed the policy of restoring the legal open carry of sidearms to Texans. The open carry of sidearms was banned by the reconstruction government after the civil war (war between the states), when the reconstruction government effectively neutered the state constitutional guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms by writing a new constitution.
After the reconstruction governor was forced to flee the governors mansion (he lost the election, refused to concede, and an impromptu Texas militia was advancing on the mansion), the Texans rewrote the constitution again, but left in a clause that allowed the legislature to regulate the wearing of arms. The legislature never repealed the reconstruction ban on wearing arms. This left Texans with the right to openly carry long arms, but not sidearms.
Texans have been exercising that right as a means of pushing for restoring the open carry of sidearms in the state.
Greg Abbot will almost certainly be the Republican candidate for governor of Texas this year. He came out in favor of open carry over a year ago, and his support of open carry draws the most applause at campaign stops. It is not clear exactly what open carry policy Attorney General Abbot would support as Governor. It could be anything from the most common policy in the rest of the country, unrestricted open carry, to the less common but more restrictive policy of licensed open carry. Texas is currently one of five or six states, depending on how you define it, that explicitly bans the open carry of sidearms. Most people, given Texas' reputation as "gun friendly", find this surprising and inexplicable.
The Democrat Party's nearly certain candidate for governor, Wendy Davis, has been struggling lately with revelations that she has not been candid about her history. Her campaign has made some poor choices lately. While Davis has been doing well at raising money from the left, she faces an uphill battle in slightly right of center Texas. Davis, who has an F rating from the NRA, is attempting to build some belated bridges to Texas gun owners. Apparently in anticipation of a run for the governors mansion, Davis made some mildly "pro-gun" votes where it made no difference last year. In January of this year, she promised to expand where concealed carry permit holders may carry handguns. At the time, Bryan Preston of the PJTatler suggested that if she really wanted to distract voters from the contradictions in her origins story, she should come out in favor of open carry of handguns.
It appears that she has taken Mr. Preston's advice to heart. From the AP article in Chron.com:
Rising Democratic star and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has joined her top Republican rival in supporting a proposed "open carry" law. It would allow people with concealed handgun licenses to wear a pistol on their hip, in full view, while in public.While AP says the two candidates for governor support the same policies, that is not immediately clear. In my Internet researches, I have only found that Greg Abbot says that he supports the restoration of open carry of handguns. Wendy Davis says that she supports the open carry of handguns by people with concealed handgun licenses. Perhaps Ms. Davis conversion to second amendment proponent will prompt Mr. Abbot to clarify his position.
In any case, with both governor candidates openly proclaiming that the time for Texans to reclaim their open carry rights has come, it seems likely that open carry of sidearms will pass the Texas legislature next session.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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