AUSTIN — Texas legislators can't help themselves. Even before their upcoming session hits its stride, they will do something to get national attention, the kind that makes TV hosts snicker and roll their eyes.
A sure-fire attention-getter this session will be an anticipated bill to let Texans openly pack pistols on their hips, in their belts or elsewhere in public view as they go about their business.
Although many other states apparently already allow the practice, the “cowboy” image of holstered Texans strolling down Main Street or through the mall, arms dangling at their sides and wary eyes on the lookout for trouble, is an easy script for late-night satire.
Remember Matt Dillon, the quick-draw TV marshal?
The legislation is being promoted by OpenCarry.org, a national pro-gun group that says it has collected about 50,000 Texas signatures in a campaign that also has included some radio ads across the state.
Another major gun bill expected to be debated by lawmakers this year would loosen the restrictions to allow people with handgun licenses to carry their pistols on college campuses.
Interest in removing the prohibition on carrying guns on campus was sparked by the shooting deaths of 32 students at Virginia Tech University in 2007. Advocates for the change argue that students who are 21 or older and have handgun licenses should have the opportunity to arm themselves against similar attacks.
Gov. Rick Perry supports, at least in concept, both the open carry and the campus gun proposals but is awaiting details, spokesman Mark Miner said.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who as a state senator sponsored the concealed handgun law in 1995, said he also supports the two proposals.
Article here. Let's hope both bills pass. My impression is that Gov. Rick Perry is a solid pro-gun governor, and Texans are lucky to have him.