An amendment to the House version of open carry legislation in Texas that would prevent law enforcement officers from checking to see if handgun open carriers have a valid concealed carry permit is jeopardizing the passage of open carry legislation this session.
Open carry in Texas remains so close, yet so far from final approval in the Legislature.
The House voted 79-63 on Wednesday to not concur with the Senate’s amendments to the contentious bill to allow licensed Texans to carry handguns openly in a shoulder or belt holster. Had the House voted to concur, the measure would’ve gone to Gov. Greg Abbott.
The sticking point was a provision that would bar police officers from stopping someone who is openly carrying just to check for the proper license. Backers said it would protect basic rights and prevent racial profiling, but law enforcement groups despise the idea.
And so a group of Republicans and Democrats – touting those concerns from police officials – banded together to send the bill to conference committee.
“The unintentional result of the amendment, which I think can be fixed, is to make it very difficult for police officers to do their job,” said Rep. Phil King, a Weatherford Republican and former police officer.
Along with Republicans, some House Democrats wanted the amendment so that minorities wouldn’t be stopped for merely open carrying. Law enforcement officers such as Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo—a foreign-born California import with no respect for the Second Amendment—are pushing back hard against the amendment, as they say it would effectively create unlicensed open carry (which the anti-gun chiefs also oppose).
The open carry bill will now go to a joint House/Senate committee, where it faces the same procedures as foundering the campus carry bill.
Five senators and representatives will have to reach a compromise in the language of the bill that both the House and Senate agree upon. If they can’t agree, the legislation is dead. If they agree, the compromise legislation must then be approved in new votes by both the House and Senate. They must do so by Monday. If both Houses fail to pass the legislation, or the session expires, the legislation is dead.
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Sadly, Open Carry entered this session as what most observers thought was a fait accompli, something that was all but done, with only the details to be ironed out.
That seeming inevitably was shattered largely to the “work” of cop-hating, legislator-threatening Open Carry Tarrant County leader Kory Watkins. Watkins made comments interpreted as threats by legislators in January, leading to the installation of panic buttons in legislative offices and then went nuclear in February with even more threatening comments posted in February (in a video since removed) that destroyed any momentum for constitutional carry.
Open Carry has been on life support since that time, limping towards the finish line, but without any inertia thanks to the damage done by one merry band of dim-witted narcissists and their so-called leader.
If open carry somehow passes this session, it won’t be because of Open Carry Tarrant County and Kory Watkins.
If open carry passes this session, it will be in spite of these misfits.
Update: Watkins doubles (triples?) down and issues another veiled threat.