open carry

weaverphoto/flickr

From Texas Standard:

An iconic Texas burger chain has found itself in the crosshairs of gun politics in the months leading up to a state law change set to take effect allowing open carry of handguns.

Preston Atkinson, President and CEO of Whataburger, released a statement this week, saying that, “Whataburger supports customers’ Second Amendment rights, but we haven’t allowed the open carry of firearms in our restaurants for a long time, although we have not prohibited licensed concealed carry.”

Erika Rich/Texas Tribune

Update, May 30, 2015:

An open carry bill was approved by the Texas Legislature on Friday, and the measure now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for his signature.

Texas is one of few states where open carry is prohibited, but the bill approved by state lawmakers on Friday would change that. License holders would be allowed to openly carry in a hip or shoulder holster.

Right now, Texans can only carry concealed handguns.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

After more than six hours — and a testy debate that escalated dramatically when unusual alliances formed between a few Democrats and a group of Tea Party-backed Republicans — the Texas Senate approved a measure loosening state restrictions on handguns Friday.

The legislation allowing Texans with licenses to carry handguns openly eventually passed on a final 20 to 11 vote along party lines.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Two weeks ago Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick handed out his committee assignments, and, this week, House Speaker Joe Straus did the same. That means the sounds that now fill the House and Senate chambers –  of lawmakers giving congratulatory resolutions – is about to change.

Bills often make the news only to quickly disappear from public discourse. Some, like one that moved in the Legislature this week on open carry, gain attention and momentum. Why do some bills fade away while others don't? The answer sometimes lies with House and Senate committees.

How to Pass a Bill

The journey from bill filing to governor's signature is a long and, about 70 percent of the time, unsuccessful journey.  First up, bill referral, when bills are read for the first time in either the House or Senate and then sent to a committee.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

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.

Bryan Winter/KUT News

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry gaveled in the legislative session today at noon. The one constitutionally required duty for state lawmakers is to pass a budget for the next two years. They have $113 billion to work with – $10 billion more than when lawmakers last met in 2013.

While lower oil prices are putting pressure on Texas economic growth, incoming Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is sticking to his campaign pledge to lower taxes. He and Governor-elect Greg Abbott will be sworn in to office next week, marking the end of Governor Rick Perry’s record 14 years in office.

A few days after posting a criticism of "open carry" rallies, the National Rifle Association says the statement reflected a staffer's opinion, not the stance of the organization, reports member station KERA.

Twitter user @SocialMatchbox and David Yoakum/Twitter user @davidb00ts

Texas Republicans have been vocal supporters of expanding gun rights in Texas. So groups pushing for laws that would expand the ability to carry firearms openly expected to be welcomed at this week's state GOP convention in Fort Worth. But the Texas GOP says the guns, themselves, will have to stay out.

Texas GOP chairman Steve Munisteri wants the groups to know they are certainly welcome to attend the Republican convention, but their guns will have to remain outside because alcohol is served at the Fort Worth Convention Center.