Constitutional Carry Begins in Texas Wednesday

Texas adults may openly carry guns without training and without a permit starting Sept. 1

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Openly carrying firearms without a permit, also known a constitutional carry, begins in Texas Wednesday.

As of Sept. 1, concealed weapon permits and training are no longer required for adult gun owners in Texas, joining 20 other states with similar laws.

Supporters say it eliminates restrictions to boost protection for law-abiding residents. Some police officers who uphold the law are among the critics.

Gun owner Eddie Law brought a handgun and a rifle for target practice Tuesday at the Eagle Gun Range location in Farmers Branch.

“People ought to know what they're doing when they're shooting guns,” he said.

That belief is part of his concern about the new law, that he generally supports to help responsible residents protect themselves with fewer restrictions.

“But then you can get some people carrying guns who ought not be carrying guns,” Law said.

Background checks will still be required that would exclude some felons and certain other people from openly buying guns. But training that used to be required for concealed weapon permits is no longer necessary.

“It's definitely kind of going to make it tougher for us,” said Terrance Hopkins, President of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas.

With more people carrying guns, Hopkins said officers will have to determine which guns are good and which are bad. He said citizens will face the same challenge.

“You're going to be out with your family at restaurants and different venues and you'll see somebody carrying a gun and that's going to alarm most people,” Hopkins said.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia and other Texas police leaders spoke against the change in Austin, but the Texas Legislature approved it.

“We're stocked up and ready for it,” said Eagle Gun Range owner David Prince.

His business sells guns, offers range practice and training classes.

Price said he hopes customers still sign up for the training to make this new gun law safe.

“The reason you buy it is to protect your family and yourself. Well, if you're not proficient at it, how are you going to protect somebody,” Prince said.

The new law also requires three signs instead of two for businesses that wish to forbid guns.

Gun owner Eddie Law said he sees more good than bad points for the new law.

“Police can't be everywhere. So, I think, the best standpoint, I think the general population needs better protection,” Law said.

That was the winning argument in favor of constitutional carry.  It takes effect at midnight Tuesday.

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