Gun rights activists demonstrated at the Capitol today in support of a bill that would allow people to carry handguns openly without a permit.
The author of the bill is State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a Tea Party Republican from Tarrant County. He stood alongside thousands of signed petitions in favor of House Bill 195. Rep. Stickland said paying for a permit is unfair to low-income Texans.
"There are a lot of people out here who do not have the disposable income to pay these fines for the right to carry," Stickland said.
Nearby, the group Come and Take It Texas demonstrated a Ghost Gunner machine, which prepares a key part for an AR-15 rifle. The group's president, Murdoch Pizgatti, said the machine’s presence on the Capitol grounds helps attract attention to the bill.
"We’re not trying to jump ahead in gun rights in terms of open carry; we’re trying to catch up with the rest of the country," Murdoch says. "We are just in the stone ages when it comes to this."
In the U.S., 31 states allow the open carrying of handguns without any license or permit, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which says the open carrying of firearms intimidates the public, wastes law enforcement resources and increases the likelihood of gun violence.