One Year After Open Carry In Texas, How Is It Working Out?

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 4 weeks ago

We know it’s working out just fine.  That’s not what we learn from this most recent report.  The cited article is from “Everything Lubbock,” and what we learn from their LEOs is important and interesting.

Assistant Chief Jon Caspell with Lubbock Police recalls similar “buzz” about the law and questions for the police department.

“There really was a lot of talk about it and the potential it might have, but really we haven’t seen hardly impact at all,” Caspell said.

Both Caspell and Palmer said they really haven’t seen people around Lubbock excercising their right to open carry.

“Even walking around in public and teaching in classes  I really don’t see anyone really carrying that way,” Palmer said.

[ … ]

Palmer explained some insight he shares with his students:

“I also explain how disadvantageous it can be if you give away the fact that you’re carrying a gun to a potential bad guy, they already see you as a threat first rather than being able to be reactionary and maybe stopping something from happening,” Palmer said.

Another facet of the Open Carry law is that law enforcement can ask people they see openly carrying to show their license.

Assistant Chief Caspell said to his knowledge, everyone LPD has checked  with willingly hands over their paperwork .

“We don’t have any reports that we’ve had any difficulty for the most part, the type of person–generally speaking– that wants to open carry is someone that wants to enforce the law. They understand what the law is therefor the reasons behind it,” Caspell said.

Caspell said he can’t speak for other Texas cities, but he believes in Lubbock, the law has been implemented smoothly.

“Lubbock seems to be more of a gun-friendly community and because of that culture here we just haven’t seen a whole lot of problems. Maybe that phrase, “in like a lion, out like a whisper,” might be a good phrase here,” Caspell said.

He added that just because someone is openly carrying in a holster doesn’t mean they are licensed. Caspell encourages anyone who is suspicious of another person they see carrying a weapon to give police a call.

There are three aspects of this report that deserve comment.  First of all, I don’t advocate open carry any more than concealed carry.  I advocate carrying the way you feel the most comfortable and tactically suited to the situation.  But if there are never any open carriers, then this right will be seen as a permission that is rarely used.  That’s not a good outcome.

Second, I’ve stated before that you get to hide the fact that you’re carrying a gun to a perpetrator is the most hideously awful argument against open carry I can conceive.  It’s tactically absurd, inasmuch as if the perpetrator intends to perpetrate a crime, he’s going to regardless of whether you have a gun.  You will still have an opportunity to prevent it, and it’s more likely that you’ll be the first to engage the perpetrator.

That’s not a bad outcome unless you wish to see women and children perish before you do.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  I’m not knocking concealed carriers as cowards.  Much of the time I’m a concealed carrier.  I’m knocking those who knock open carry for the reason that a concealed carrier gets to wait to engage.  I don’t carry a weapon in order to wait to engage.  You don’t hear LEOs making the argument that openly carrying their weapon is a tactical disadvantage.  Let’s don’t look stupid by making that argument for ourselves.

Finally, this attitude by the chief LEO is disturbing and possibly illegal.  He has actually gone on record advocating that people call the police for a response when no law is being broken, or at least, when no one can demonstrate prima facie that a law is being broken.  I must remind LEOs reading this article once again that the Fourth Circuit had to slap down the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department over stopping someone for openly carrying a weapon and actually arresting him for something else.

“… where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot justify an investigatory detention.  Permitting such a justification would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals in those states.”

It simply could not be clearer.  Moreover, every stop must be a so-called Terry Stop, regardless of what Texas state law says.  In this way I see the Texas law as unconstitutional.  LEOs should not, and do not, have the right to stop merely to ask for identification unless they have good reason to believe that a law is being violated.  So says the Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.  I said all of this before the Texas state legislature passed this bill, and they didn’t listen to me.  I would like to see this challenged in federal court, but before we ever get to that, I’d like to see constitutional carry in Texas in order to make this moot.  If Texas delays, as I suspect they will, then someone should challenge this in federal court.

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Comments

  1. On January 19, 2017 at 11:47 am, Archer said:

    Yeah, the “stop and ID” part of the open-carry law should be challenged.

    The problem is that the courts rarely allow a law to be challenged prima facie (on its face), so you need to find someone with standing — someone who suffered actual legal/criminal harm as a result of the unconstitutional detention.

    Most federal courts are gutless and would just as soon let it stand unless and until something like the Fourth Circuit case occurs; where someone is arrested on an unrelated charge after being unconstitutionally stopped and forced to provide identification.

  2. On January 19, 2017 at 11:53 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Oh absolutely. We won’t be able simply to take the law to court. Somebody is going to have to open carry, get stopped by LEOs, refuse to supply ID, get a night in the county jail, and then sue for violation of his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. That’s the way it will have to work.

  3. On January 20, 2017 at 11:24 am, Duke Norfolk said:

    “I also explain how disadvantageous it can be if you give away the fact
    that you’re carrying a gun to a potential bad guy, they already see you
    as a threat first rather than being able to be reactionary and maybe
    stopping something from happening,” Palmer said.

    Ah yes, you’d hate for your gun to be a deterrent to a criminal. Much better for them to act on their crime and give you a chance to be “reactionary” and gun them down and be a hero. That’s how this often sounds to my ear when I hear this ridiculous criticism of open carry.

  4. On January 20, 2017 at 11:34 am, Herschel Smith said:

    It’s an exceedingly dumb objection. Sometimes I wonder if we listen to ourselves to make sure we sound sensible.

    There may be other reasons not to open carry – legitimate reasons. That’s not one of them.

  5. On January 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm, Duke Norfolk said:

    Yep, it’s very discouraging to see this kind of crap from the pro gun rights crowd. But I guess it just goes to show that all kinds of people are susceptible to irrational thinking and their own biases that are impermeable to reason.

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You are currently reading "One Year After Open Carry In Texas, How Is It Working Out?", entry #16420 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published January 18th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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