4/17/2015

(O)pen Carry - the Texas Constitutional Carry Act of 2015

This was passed today.

This bill is pretty simple, though I have some mixed feelings about it.

Essentially, it outlines ways that a person can commit offenses while using the handgun - A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person's control at any time in which the person is: the handgun is in plain view; or the person is: engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic or boating; prohibited by law from possessing a firearm; a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section71.01. Pretty much, don't use the gun while operating any type of vehicle/boat, and don't partake in criminal activity.

Unlawful places to have a handgun - (1) on the premises of a business that has a permit or license issued under Chapter 25, 28, 32, 69, or 74, Alcoholic Beverage Code, if the business derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, as determined by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission under Section 104.06, Alcoholic Beverage Code; (2) on the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the person is a participant in the event where a handgun is used in the event; (3) on the premises of a correctional facility; (4) on the premises of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health and Safety Code, or on the premises of a nursing home licensed under Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, unless the person has written authorization of the hospital or nursing home administration, as appropriate; (5) in an amusement park; (6) on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship; (7) at any meeting of a governmental entity; (8) while intoxicated So, don't have the handgun out in buildings that sell alcohol, schools, government meetings, hospitals, church/synogogue/other religious establishment.

Hell, it even says how SECURITY GUARDS can unlawfully use their weapon - (b) A person who is licensed as a security officer under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code, and employed as a security officer commits an offense if, while in the course and scope of the security officer's employment, the security officer violates a provision of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code.

It continues to give a list of defensive ways to use a handgun, and who is permitted to do so, including this handy section about police officers and how they would be restricted in terms of just arresting someone with an openly carried gun. AUTHORITY OF PEACE OFFICER TO DISARM. (a) A peace officer who is acting in the lawful discharge of the officer's official duties may disarm a person in possession of a handgun at any time the officer has probable cause to believe that the person poses an imminent threat to themselves, the officer, or another individual. The peace officer shall return the handgun to the person before discharging the person from the scene if the officer determines that the person is not a threat to themselves, the officer, or another individual and if the person has not committed any violation that results in their arrest. The mere possession or carrying of a firearm, openly or concealed, with or without a Concealed Handgun License, shall not constitute probable cause for a peace officer to disarm or detain an otherwise law-abiding person.

Honestly, I'm kind of creeped out that there are no more concealed carry licenses, though I supposed they are now irrelevent since everyone can just openly carry. I was kind of hoping for a bit more regulation in terms of handgunes, not to allow people to flaunt them wherever; how they woudl regulate it I don't know - I'm not the lawmaker. I just think that allowing everyone who wants to open carry to do so isn't that great of an idea. This allows people intending to do harm to scope out a place and find out who is carrying, perhaps take someone else's gun and use it against the patrons in the area. It may incite fear to approach certain people with a gun on their hip. Maybe only time will tell how well, or poorly, this may work, but I still have my reservations. I can only hope that it will work out for the better, with less crime, instead of backfiring on the people who wrote and passed this bill.

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