By Dean Weingarten
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)–At the Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) in Dallas, Texas, I noticed a significant amount of the open carry of sidearms. This would not have been legal as late as December of 2015. The open carry of a Bowie knife would have been illegal up until then end of August this year!
In addition to the licensed open carry of handguns, edged weapons with blades of more than 5.5 inches can now be legally carried in most places. One participant carried an iconic Bowie knife at the GRPC. He graciously allowed me to take a picture.
Knife Rights deserves much of the credit for reforming antique knife law restrictions in Texas. The knife laws lineage dates back to the “reconstruction” government in Texas, that wanted select groups disarmed after the War between the States, or Civil war. Full disclosure: I had a great grandfather fight in the Union Navy. He later homesteaded in Minnesota. The reconstruction government rewrote the Texas Constitution, effectively eliminating the right to wear arms.
Most Texans find it hard to believe it was illegal to carry a Bowie knife in most public places in Texas. Knife rights fixed that. Todd Rathner, Director of Legislative Affairs for Knife Rights deserves a lot of the credit for the passage of knife reform in Texas. The bill almost died after a knife attack at the University of Texas, Austin, close to when the bill was coming up for a vote. Rathner displayed his impressive skills of persuasion to make the carry of formerly outlawed knives legal in 99% of Texas. Knife Rights will be back the next legislative session.
One participant chose to carry a Desert Eagle. I believe it was in .50 AE caliber. It makes an excellent “barbecue” gun, the term many Texans use for pistols they wear to barbecues or other semi-formal occasions.
Open Carry Texas had a table at the conference. They have earned it with their activism to restore open carry of pistols in Texas. Open Carry Texas organized thousands of open carry marches throughout the state. In the 18 months before the passage of open carry legislation in Texas, there were over 2,500 open carry marches. It is one of the biggest political movements in Texas since the 1960's. C.J. Grisham, the founder of Open Carry Texas, was manning the table.
There were revolvers present. This Smith & Wesson hammerless model was in a pocket holster. Both revolvers and semi-autos have their advantages.
As the movement to restore Second Amendment rights has swept across the United States, those who push for disarming the public try to portray people attending the NRA meeting, or other events where Second Amendment Activists gather, as hypocrites for not attending the events armed.
Those days are gone.
There are now five states that ban open carry of handguns in most public places. They are California, New York, Illinois, South Carolina, and Florida. There are strong movements to restore open carry in Florida and South Carolina.
With open carry legal in 45 states, it is nearly impossible to rationally justify an open carry ban. Open carry does not increase crime. It does not increase accidents. It does not increase suicide.
It does what the opponents of an armed population cannot abide. It educates, clarifies, and creates activists.
Open carry was always strong, symbolic, political, speech. It is an act that was the seed that grew into an army of activists. It is common for open carry marchers to be cheered by members of the public that see them as a force standing for the Constitution.
Their numbers have increased geometrically with YouTube videos and facebook pages. Activists move the political ball forward.
Now, when I am in Texas, I do not worry about finding a coat to cover my Glock, as I step outside to retrieve something from my car.
My open carry experiences in Texas have been positive.
Open carry in Florida and South Carolina is coming. Predicting when is beyond my capacity.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.