February 16, 2014

Readers sound off: Carry your handgun in the open?

Some gun owners want the right, but others think it’s a dumb thing to do.

Fort Worth state Sen. Wendy Davis, frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor, surprised some of her supporters by saying she favors legislation allowing Texans to carry handguns openly. Her expected opponent, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, also supports that change. In what ways should Texas gun laws be revised, if at all?

As a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and one with a concealed carry license, I strongly disagree with “open carry.” Many people, male, female and children are somewhat or very afraid at the sight of a gun, and there is no justification for making these folks uncomfortable in public.

Being of senior age, I would not want a couple of young punks to overpower me and use my weapon against me or someone else. I would rather have them guess if I am “carrying.”

Most seniors do not have the swagger for “open carry” but do have the inclination to protect ourselves and loved ones and will do so if necessary.

— Bruce Dougherty, Fort Worth

I am a gun advocate. Open carry would be a nightmare for police and a detriment to our safety. Open carry means “anybody,” including thugs, will legally be able to walk around with sidearms. Concealed handgun licenses are the way to keep “them” wondering who could rise up against them, and the screening process keeps them from legally carrying.

— Bruce Kalapach, Fort Worth

Our Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. Open carry, I believe, is quite another matter. Laws allowing Texans to openly carry handguns just invites violence such as the theater shooting in Florida that recently killed a young man whose transgression was texting during the movie. The adoption of such legislation just might turn Texas into a battleground that resembles a modern version of frontier justice.

— Ray Martin, Fort Worth

I support Davis in her attempt to bring the open carry law to Texas. I will not participate in it, though. I do possess a concealed handgun license and quite often carry a weapon with me, but I see no need to strap on a .45 and stroll through the mall. Besides, the whole advantage to the concealed handgun, is concealment, get it? The bad guy can’t see your gun. If you look like Wyatt Earp, then guess who’s got the advantage?

— Bill Woodard, Fort Worth

Now that Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott are on the same page regarding the current concealed handgun laws, Texas ought to revise the law to include legislation for open-carry handguns.

Abbott has always favored gun rights. Now both candidates can no longer prompt negative rhetoric with a finger-pointing exercise as to who favors this or that, be they Democrats or Republicans.

Abbott and Davis articulate well their positions in the governor’s race. Now this gun debate has been given the limelight, be it good, bad or ugly. But it’s just one issue to reckon with. Whoever wins governor, their signature will finalize the gun debate.

— Sharon Barrow, Fort Worth

A foolish proposal, possibly politically motivated.

Recently two persons lost their temper, shot and killed two people. One because he was texting at a theater. The other killed because he was playing music loudly.

Allowing people to carry handguns openly is unwise. If one looses their temper, gets ticked off, they won’t have to dig into their clothing or go to their vehicle to get a gun. They can just zip it from their holster and fire!

And how about those who are crazed from alcohol, drugs and mental problems?

I can just hear people from other countries saying: “Those gun- crazy Americans.”

— George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

Revision of any law should not be made unless some aspect is unworkable, unfair or unenforceable. “Gun violence” is not a reason to change the law because the violence is due to humans, not guns.

Permits to carry firearms are puzzling to me because the average law-abiding citizen has no reason. Those who have reason to fear for their safety fall into special categories uncommon to the average citizen.

It is unsettling to encounter one carrying a gun in public places, with the fear that an unstable person will use the weapon. It is also unsettling to hear a politician of questionable character oppose the Second Amendment and then later support aspects of it.

Of course, times have changed and we no longer live in the atmosphere of the gun-carrying “Old West.” Perhaps some changes are in order, but removing the right to bear arms is an invitation to enslavement.

— Grady Fuller, Kennedale

I oppose all laws that interfere with our Second Amendment rights — call me old fashioned. So, I guess I am in favor of legislation permitting the open carry of hand guns.

However, that said, I would encourage my fellow pistol packers to continue to keep their guns under wraps.

Tactically speaking, wearing a gun on your hip is tantamount to wearing a “shoot me first” sign on your back — why would you advertise you are armed when you can sneak up on ’em?

Secondly, we gun owners don’t appreciate the fear firearms generate in some people. The mere presence of a firearm makes a significant portion of our society seriously uncomfortable. How would you like it if someone at the next table had a snake wrapped around their neck while you were trying to enjoy your lunch? So if it comes to pass, let’s be circumspect.

— Dwight A. Heard, Fort Worth

I have a concealed carry permit. With an open carry, I think we will have more guns stolen. I see this as an invite for muggers. Muggers don’t care and more innocent people could get hurt.

— Al Bloom, Benbrook

Wendy Davis is a big ole Pander Bear. But this time, even though she doesn’t mean it, she has championed a truth.

I have observed over the years that the real, or even imaginary, introduction of a firearm into a tense civilian, situation causes the people involved to become more polite, more reasonable and less confrontational.

I guess it’s because the level of harm in a participant’s mind has risen from the vague prospect of violence to the abrupt possibility that someone could end up seriously injured or dead.

With that in mind, I agree with Wendy’s professed position. Change the law to permit the open display of loaded weapons.

There is a reason the police station has never been the scene of a mass shooting. Open Carry would disseminate that reason to many other locations.

— Joel Downs, Hurst

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

This is the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, approved 222 years ago. The “rights” noted belonged to people in a militia at that time.

Many people today infringe on the truth of the Second Amendment by focusing on only the last half: The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed…

We need a law to control the sale of automatic rifles and outlaw the sale of oversized ammunition magazines to help minimize the killing of innocent people. The new law would have all gun buyers complete an application at time of sale that includes a well-used mental health test.

We need new laws for buying and selling guns, even if they don’t please gun manufacturers. Our goal: save lives.

— Gene Thomas, Hurst

I don’t understand why our lawmakers would want to risk public safety and pass an open-carry law, just so a bunch of insecure John Wayne wanna-bees can validate their manhood by displaying their big six-guns in public.

— Sharon Austry, Fort Worth

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