Most of the open carry bills already filed for the upcoming session would still require a license. One, by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, would eliminate the licensing requirement for concealed or open carry.
Long depicted as the rootin’-tootin’ capital of American gun culture, Texas is one of the few states with an outright ban on the open carry of handguns.
That could change in 2015, with the Republican-dominated Legislature and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott expected to push for expanded gun rights.
“If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas,” Abbott said the day after his election last month.
And if Texas, which allows concealed handguns, embraces open carry — rolling back a 140-year ban — it would be the largest state to have done so.
Open carry drew wide support in the 2014 statewide election, and at least six bills have already been filed for the upcoming session, which starts in January. Abbott has already pledged to sign one into law if sent to his desk.
Coni Ross, a 63-year-old rancher in Blanco, carries a handgun in her purse for personal protection and said she’d like the option to carry it openly on her belt if she could. She already does when she’s on her ranch and feels comfortable with her gun by her side.