Guns up, guns down

Illustration+by+Alexis+Garrison.

Illustration by Alexis Garrison.

Story by: Rayya Gordon, News Editor

The state of Texas initiated a new gun control law adding to previous regulations. As of January 1, citizens who own a valid concealed handgun license hold the right to open carry their gun in a shoulder or belt holster. While the law aims to offer people a legal and assured way to protect themselves, the state government needs to provide further clarification of the law and its regulations so that all citizens can be safe.

The new law does not require any additional training, fees or documents to obtain open carry status, and none of the eligibility criteria have changed. However, the privilege to open carry differs significantly from concealed handgun stipulations in the level of responsibility and safety involved. The state should put anyone who wants to open carry through specialized training to ensure they and the people around them remain safe. A lack of serious understanding and obligation in people with open carry licenses could lead to civilians getting hurt.

Despite now being legal and recognized by the state, many people deem open carry socially unacceptable. Some say that the law radicalizes gun rights, while others say it pushes back progress on the controversial subject. If people cannot agree on what the law means for handgun owners – meaning they cannot properly interpret the law – the state of Texas cannot expect citizens to follow the law to their best ability.

According to the website for the Texas Department of Public Safety, upcoming expansion of the open carry law will allow citizens to carry concealed handguns on campuses. The future introduction of these regulations could ignite public disorder as people undertake drastic measures to protect themselves by working around the laws rather than with them. The state should revisit these regulations before the scheduled date they go into effect and find a better way to stabilize safety in public without sacrificing social comfort.

Any progress in gun control matters holds value, but the open carry law seems to lack the information needed to help the people of Texas – specifically handgun owners looking for ways to protect their rights and themselves without breaking the law. The new law, and any upcoming changes to it, should better aim to protect people – not just their weapons.