From Chron.com, January 24, 2013 – As the federal government moves forward on its plans to tighten gun restrictions, Texas lawmakers are proposing legislation to expand gun rights in the state.
The latest proposal is HB 700 filed Thursday by state Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana, that would allow individuals with concealed handgun licenses to carry weapons in plain view on a belt or shoulder holster.
“For some it is a matter of personal safety, for others it is simply a convenience/personal preference issue,” said Lavender, who carried similar legislation that failed last session. He added others view it as a constitutional issue.
Some officials in statewide offices have said they support “open carry” in Texas. Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is floating the idea of a run for Governor next year, was quoted in support of the measure yesterday.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor next year, has said he supports Texans being allowed to carry handguns openly.
Lavender said the bill has a better chance to pass this session, adding that it failed last session because other “Second Amendment” bills took priority.
Other recent proposed policy changes supported by Republican lawmakers in Texas include allowing concealed handguns on college campuses, arming and training school officials – including teachers – to serve as “law enforcement” in the case of a school shooting.
Others have proposed legislation that would prohibit federal agents from enforcing a federal ban proposed by President Barack Obama on semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, if the so-called “assault weapons” ban were to pass Congress.
“Texas is one of only a handful of states that does not allow some form of open carry despite being one of the most pro-second amendment states in the country,” Lavender said.