San Antonio Express, April 2014
Texas at center of storm over open carry
In Texas, although a concealed carry law has been on the books since 1995, legislators have failed repeatedly to repeal the ban on openly carrying handguns.
Now both gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott, say they support open carry of handguns, and advocates predict it will win approval sooner or later.
“The handgun needs to be liberated in Texas,” said Mike Stollenwerk, co-founder of 30,000-member Opencarry.org, the closest thing to a national-movement clearinghouse for the issue. “With the big candidates saying they agree, maybe it's time.”
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Advocates on both sides of the issue say the open-carry ban on handguns in Texas is a vestige of Jim Crow laws dating back to the 19th century that were aimed at disarming freed slaves. This legacy helps explain why Southern states, though firmly pro-gun, often restrict open carry.
“The fact is it's the South where we're playing cleanup,” Stollenwerk said.