By; Harry James, Publisher, Defensive-Handguns.com
A Texas open-carry campaigner proudly bears his gun at a rally at the state capitol in Austin on 1 January, the day the state adopted open carry. Photograph: Ralph Barrera/AP
Recently, as early as today, August 20, 2016, I have been researching the internet regarding “Open Carry Laws By State”. You’ll be hard-pressed to guess what I found by way of current information. But then again, maybe you won’t be surprised at all.
It was my intent to write about the open carry laws by state and cover the most recent laws. However, it looks like I would spend many long hours researching this. The article I found from Jan. 2016 was published in “The Guardian” ( https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/15/open-carry-gun-laws-states ). This is the most current information I could find that I knew wasn’t too outdated to be useful.
The article says; “On Tuesday in Florida, state lawmakers gathered to start their 2016 session, and will soon consider two gun bills: one to allow 1.5 million Floridians with concealed-carry permits to carry their firearms openly, the other to allow guns on college campuses.Despite the gun control movement’s momentum in recent years to pass many new restrictive laws, today only Florida and four other states – California, Illinois, New York and South Carolina – prohibit open carry. The other 45 allow it to varying degrees.”
This article continues; “Even in the most open of open-carry states, gun rights advocates are scratching out new territory. Alabama, for example, has been gun-friendly since its inception. Gunpowder is baked right into the state constitution: ‘Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state’.”
“When Alabama’s state legislature reconvenes in February, it will consider a bill put forward by Republican representative Mack Butler, of Rainbow City, designed to allow students at universities to carry guns at school. In Alabama, the age requirement to purchase a handgun is 18, so Butler’s bill would open up the possibility of freshmen walking to class armed.”
“’I hope to eliminate every gun-free zone I possibly can‘, Butler told the Yellowhammer News a week ago.”
I read that California was the fifth state to prohibit open carry, and there are now 45 states allowing it. From my own experience, having lived in Ca. at the time, and carrying a CCW, they passed the law prohibiting open carry on Jan. 01, 2012, and prior to this date, open carry in Ca. meant “you can legally carry an unloaded gun openly”. Unloaded meant you could carry the gun openly as long as you had NO AMMO IN YOUR POSSESSION at the time. To my way of thinking, an ‘unloaded’ gun is as effective for self-defense as a rock laying on the ground. They both have the same function.
Texas passed a law allowing open carry earlier this year and is embroiled in a debate about what they call “campus carry”. Some folks want to have it legal for faculty, staff, and students to carry concealed on campus, to include the classrooms.
There is now an ongoing debate between open carry and concealed carry folks. Open carry people say it deters crime, while concealed carry people say it makes the open carriers the first ‘targets’. Also, the concealed carry folks are upset because business owners that were never bothered by customers with concealed firearms are now concerned about their clientele getting nervous at the sight of guns being freely displayed. Now the business owners are putting up signs forbidding weapons in their establishments, so concealed carry people have lost some the freedom they enjoyed previously.
“Places that were mum or fine on concealed carry and now in an over PC backlash, has excluded decades-long CC in some of the most popular corporate chains,” a gun owner posted on TexasCHLforum.com, a site for firearm enthusiasts. “And many other mom and pops who would rather not have the Instagram photo freaks clicking pics in front of their menu’s so I guess congrats to us, we cut off our nose despite our face.”
Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, said the gun rights strategy purports to turn back the national clock to a time when Americans lived closer to the land, defended themselves from harm, lived more independently – and carried six-shooters on their hips wherever they strode.
So why the push for college campuses?
“That’s where the young people are,” Winkler said. They are forming ideas about what’s acceptable in society and what’s not. But more than that, he said, “It’s a sign of the success of the gun rights advocates. There is little left for them to win. The campus is one of the few contested battlegrounds left.”
That sort of frustration will fade, according to the strategy described by Winkler, as the population grows more accustomed to guns. Once people stop feeling afraid, the “no guns” signs will come down.
“This is about normalizing guns,” he said.
“Right now I’d say the gun rights people are winning,” said David Helton, an optometrist in Atmore, Alabama, who carries guns for hunting and self-defense. “It’s because the federal government is hamstrung – a lot of states are just doing what they want.”
As you can see by this, the debate over gun control, open carry vs. concealed carry, CC on campuses, and the rights & laws from state to state will apparently keep changing from now until who knows when. There can’t really be an article written to cover the open carry laws by state until all the states adopt what is being called “Constitutional Carry” or “State Reciprocity“. This would be the same as your driver’s license being accepted by whatever state you happen to drive through regardless of where it was issued.
So you see, the gun laws in this country are changing almost as fast we change our socks. It’s nearly impossible to be totally current with all the changes being made in every state.
I would gladly welcome any opinions you may have about this issue. Please leave your comments below.