Senate Passes Open Carry, Much to Open Carry Tarrant County Leader Kory Watkins' Chagrin

Kory Watkins is like the kid who got a Zune instead of an iPod for Christmas. The Open Carry Tarrant County leader is upset -- very, very upset -- that the Texas Senate passed a bill yesterday that would legalize the open carrying of handguns in the state.

Watkins is mad because the bill, passed on a 20-11 party line vote, requires that open carriers have a license for the handgun they're carrying in their hip or shoulder holster.

From Watkins' Facebook page:

Reports are coming in saying open carry of a handgun is passed here in Texas.

I am not even a little happy or satisfied with this. Read the bill, you have to ask for permission, pay a tax and get your fingers printed like a criminal. Then when you exercise your privilege from government you will give up other rights to do so. Police are going to be asking people "Show me your papers" (CHL)

Our founders were shooting over taxes and regulation on stuff like this. WAKE UP!

"It's a step in the right direction." No it's not. That's what you've been suckered to believe, because baby steps is what the legislatures, lobbyist and other tyrants want. Control. And they are still in control. They have proven that.

I will keep walking around with my AK47, thanks. ‪#‎Texas‬

Watkins and his ilk prefer what's known as constitutional carry, a principle that would allow for the unlicensed carrying of whatever gun one wants.

The bill passed Tuesday -- written by Craig Estes, a Republican from Wichita Falls -- requires those wishing to open carry a handgun to have a concealed handgun license. All that changes is that the permitted gun no longer has to be covered up.

In any previous session of the Texas Legislature, Estes' bill would have been unlikely to pass or even receive a floor vote. The 11 senators who opposed the bill, all Democrats, could have blocked the bill's getting to the floor under the two-thirds rule. This session, however, things are different.

In January, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick spearheaded changing the two-thirds majority needed to get a bill to the floor to a three-fifths requirement, just enough to make the Republican majority in the Texas Senate impervious to dissent.

According to a survey from the Texas Police Chiefs Association released in February, 75 percent of police chiefs in the state oppose the open carrying of handguns.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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