open carry texas

Senior House members who don’t like Representative Jonathan Stickland have taunted him this session. One senior Republican all but called Stickland a liar during a debate on a border security measure. During another debate, another senior Republican dragged a cookie on a string near Stickland, supposedly to lure the Bedford Republican away from the back microphone. But apparently he ate their lunch instead.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy is reporting that Stickland may have pulled one over on the House and turned a licensed open carry of handguns bill into a just plain open carry bill, because police would no longer have the power to ask someone to show their handgun permit without cause: 

Instead of open carry, Texas just went wide open.

Anybody openly packing a handgun is no longer a police concern, at least not under an amendment passed 133-10 Monday by the Texas House.

See somebody with a gun?

Don’t bother dialing 911.

That’s right. Under House Bill 910, police are barred from asking anyone “whether a person possesses a handgun license.”

According to Kennedy, Stickland was the mastermind behind an amendment carried by Harold Dutton, a Democrat, and Matt Rinaldi, a Republican. The amendment is supposed to keep police from harassing law abiding handgun owners who are legally carrying them openly. But it effectively halts police from asking to see the license unless a person is acting suspiciously.

Stickland has been a proponent of what is called constitutional carry— anyone who can legally own a handgun can carry it openly. The legislation moving through the House and Senate allows open carry for only those persons who have had a criminal background check, been trained and received a license to carry from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“We unintentionally just got unlicensed open carry,” Stickland told Kennedy. (Corrected: Bud tells me it was not a quote from Stickland. The full sentence from his story: “That was after a leader of the Dallas-based Come and Take It Texas open-carry group wrote on social media: ‘We unintentionally just got unlicensed open carry.’”)