Dallas Police Report No 911 Calls on Open Carry

Dallas police say they have received zero 911 calls concerning open carry since the new law went into effect Jan. 1.

In fact, several police officers told NBC 5 Thursday they haven't even seen anybody openly carrying their firearms.

The new Texas law gives licensed gun owners the option to visibly display their handguns as long as they are in a hip- or shoulder-holster.

Dallas police say there's been no arrests or confrontations concerning the new law.

That doesn't mean people aren't interested. At the Texas Handgun Academy in North Dallas, instructors said their class sizes have doubled in recent months, from about 30 students on a weekend class to 60.

But instructors said most people still prefer to carry concealed, and for good reason.

"I don't think we'll see a lot of openly carried firearms simply because when you have a gun on your hip you're giving away your tactical advantage. Everybody knows you've got a gun. The idea here is protection," said instructor and firearms expert Blake Beidleman.

"A concealed firearm accessible to you allows you to do that without advertising, 'Hey, look at me. I've got a gun, focus on me, bad guys,'" he said.

For that reason, Beidleman applauded the new law but still feels concealed carry is the best way to go for most gun owners.

At his License-To-Carry (formerly CHL) classes, Beidleman points out to his students that openly carrying can make a gun owner a target during a robbery or a crime spree.

"If I'm 'Billy the Bad Guy' and I see a nice gun on your hip and I want to take it, I might just come take it from you," Beidleman said. "You can try to stop me, and that's fine, but all of a sudden now we're in a fight that we wouldn't have been in before."

Since getting a license costs money and takes hours of training — classes generally run four hours at cost $60-75, followed by a mandatory test — Beidleman said he is not surprised Dallas police haven't had any problems.

"The people who come get the license aren't thugs and gangsters who are going to be waving those things around, shooting up restaurants and movie theaters," he said. "Just like with concealed carry, the people who come here want to follow the law in the first place."

Last month, Dallas police printed out hundreds of pamphlets that officers can hand out to the public regarding the new open carry law, but so far that's been unnecessary.

Police, though, said they're prepared and trained to respond to an open carry 911 call if they need.

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