Some Texans want open carry law for firearms

Burkburnett_As if concealed carry permits weren't enough, some Texans are pushing for the right to openly bear arms in public.  The group is called "Open Carry," and they have started an online petition calling for legislation from lawmakers.  7News talked to some Texans about the petition, and the reaction seems to be split.

The proposed legislation would have a stipulation - if it were to pass, Texans still would be unable to carry guns openly in places where law prohibits it.  One argument in favor of the legislation says that open carrying would be a deterrent - that if a criminal saw someone wielding a firearm, they may be less likely to commit a crime.  "People that may be coming in to rob stores or do harm, if they see a gun, they may not bother other people," said Texas resident Kyle Avey.

Those opposed say they are worried that Texas would turn into the gun-slinging wild west, and that there aren't that many people who are responsible enough for this type of legislation.  "People are going to be trying to, you know, show it off more than anything," said Texas resident Daniel Sales.

Law enforcement officers also have mixed emotions.  "I think it's up in the air right now as far as the opinion goes about if it's good or bad," says Burkburnett Police Sergeant Sean Lam.  He says he feels that the legislation may be intimidating and cause too much fear, but he also thinks it may be beneficial.  "If a proposed criminal is thinking about something or committing a crime, and they see somebody maybe carrying that weapon in the open, they may think twice about it."

The online petition is quickly growing, and now has almost 17,000 signatures.  Activists are working toward more signatures before the upcoming session of legislature.  Texas once had open carrying of firearms, but it was outlawed in the 1880s.  As of today, no bill has been drafted allowing open carrying.

Count on 7News to keep you updated.