Op-Ed about Open Carry
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By Poncho Nevárez
Austin, TX -- Open carry laws are superfluous. The legislation was an answer to the insatiable appetite of far right primary voters, not a solution to making Texas safer. At best, open carry laws do nothing for safety, and at worst, they are dangerous, creating confusion about who may or may not pose a threat.
As an avid gun owner with a shooting range in my backyard, I exercise and appreciate the right to bear arms. However, I realize that the Second Amendment is not a right to be abused nor is it a license to use any gun, in any way, anywhere we want.
The law enforcement community expressed their concern that open carry makes it more difficult to distinguish between someone simply exercising the open carry option and someone posing a threat.
This concern was realized in Dallas on July 7, when five (5) police officers’ lives were taken and seven (7) injured. During the chaos, several citizens openly carrying were taken into custody as possible suspects. In addition, authorities distributed a picture of the wrong person, openly carrying his firearm, as the suspected shooter.
Many ask why citizens, lawfully carrying firearms, should be penalized, based on a few mentally ill individuals using guns to commit crimes. The answer is not fairness, but prudence. The same reasoning applies in restricting behaviors that create opportunities for harm. This makes it more difficult for people with the wrong intentions to harm themselves or others.
The ability to openly carry does little, if anything, to promote our Second Amendment rights. On the contrary, more private businesses prohibit firearms all together due to the attention open carry brings to gun violence.
My hope for next session is we heed the advice of law enforcement we lionize, but often disregard on the most basic of issues. We must focus on creating meaningful legislation that truly benefits our State and protects our loved ones.
State Representative Poncho Nevárez represents Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, and Val Verde counties. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, member of the Natural Resources Committee, and member of the Local and Consent Calendars Committee. He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Treasurer of the Border Caucus.