Open Carry handgun legal in Texas Jan. 1

January 1 will not only usher in a new year, it will also allow Texans to carry handguns in plain sight.

Governor Greg Abbott signed HB910 into law back in June 2015.

What does the law entail and how are law enforcement officers preparing for the change?

Open Carry is just that. Licensed gun owners may now carry their handguns in plain sight.

According to the law, they must be shoulder or belt holstered. There are some exceptions, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety:

Open carry is not permitted by a license holder regardless of whether the handgun is holstered:

•on the premises of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education

•on any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education

•by an individual who is acting as a personal protection officer under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code and is not wearing a uniform

Jourdanton Police Chief Eric Kaiser said that officers have received training on the new laws. “Once in effect they will be aware of what is legal and what a violation is under the new open carry law,” said Chief Kaiser.

Kaiser shared some of the violations. One is the removal of the gun from a secured holster, when a gun holder seems intoxicated and when the gun holder is obviously committing a crime or acting in a reckless or suspicious manner.

“The Jourdanton Police Department highly values an individual’s legal right to carry a firearm, while also understanding the concerns others may have as this new law is implemented,” said Chief Kaiser.

Pleasanton Police Chief Ronald Sanchez also stated that officers have received training.

“I do have some concerns, amongst them is how are responding officers going to know who is who when they arrive at the scene of a shooting and they encounter several armed individuals,” said Chief Sanchez.

That concern is heightend since the officers are usually operating off of very limited information when a call is dispatched.

“There are times when the caller won’t have time to tell the dispatcher who is good guy and who is the bad guy,” said the chief.

Bill Meadows, Pct. 4 Constable, also holds classes for concealed handgun licenses. Where he normally has three to four students per month, he has had 15 each month for the last two months.

“I want to remind those who want to open carry, they have to get a license,” said Meadows.

The license will transition to Hand Gun License, omitting “Concealed” after January 1.

Questions or concerns may be addressed to Chief Eric Kaiser at 830-769- 2241 ext. 3021 or interact on the Jourdanton Police Department’s Facebook page.

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