Houston New Year’s Day in Texas was duck-and-cover for 2016. Almost one-million Texans have a permit to carry guns and until New Year’s they had to keep handguns concealed. Now it’s all out in the open, and so are the arguments about it.
Businesses can opt out of open-carry and some have. For months, a number of hospitals have been posting signs telling people to cover it up before they came into the emergency rooms or along the hospital corridors. Given the number of gunshot wounds that are already being processed through big city emergency rooms in Houston, Dallas, and elsewhere, that makes sense, because the last place you would like to see the gunfights from the hood continue without missing a beat would be in hospitals. Some grocery stores have said, no, and no way. Times-Warner Cable has opted out as well, and that’s another place where people are known to lose their tempers, so thank goodness.
In August, Texas universities and colleges are still puzzling through the issue, because the Texas state legislature in its wisdom has set that date to allow students and professors to carry concealed weaponry on campus. The University of Texas at Austin is supposedly debating whether or not that would work for them or not. Memories of someone pot shooting from the UT tower have obviously dimmed. It takes some real imagination to come up with the side of the argument that says, hey, students with concealed guns, yeah, let’s do that, and while we’re doing it, let’s make sure they’re drinking, too.
Some of the gunners are talking about boycotting stores and businesses that won’t allow them to walk in with their guns strapped to their legs. H-E-B and Sprouts Grocery are saying they will not allow open carry. Walmart, which sells a pile of guns, says open carry is fine with them, which is disappointing, but not surprising especially.
Some of the Texas rough riders say the new law won’t make much difference, but, frankly, having read Frank Strier’s recently published, Guns and Kids, it’s pretty clear that just like possession is supposedly nine tenths of the law, access to handguns right at the hip pretty much guarantees that way too many folks will find their trigger fingers getting itchy when their tempers get hot, and the results will be tragic and predictable.
Of course open carry has always been the way of the world in Texas when it comes to long guns hanging from the gun rack in the pickup. That kind of open-carry includes military style assault rifles.
It’s always good advice in Texas to be ready to duck-and-cover, and now with guns close at hand, it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled because, sadly, some cowboys will find it too easy to keep them blazing.