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Texans were allowed to openly carry weapons in public places: no license or training

Texans can now wear freely weapons in public places without special training and permission. The police said that now it will be more difficult to carry out their work, according to CNN.

Photo: Shutterstock

A new Texas gun law went into effect this Wednesday. The new law allows all official owners of firearms to carry them freely in public places without obtaining a special permit and without special training. This measure, according to experts, will complicate the maintenance of law and order and control over the use of weapons on the street.

This controversial bill is the newest in a series of firearms laws that have entered into strength this year amid an increasing number of gun incidents both in Texas and across the country.

Number of shooting incidents in Texas (excluding suicide) up 14% this year to 3,200 incidents this year, up from 2020 in 2,800 (according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA)). Weapon incidents this year occurred 50% more often than in the same period in 2019-2, 100 episodes, respectively.

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“In Texas, canceling the gun permit is a radical step,” says Andrew Karvorski, a police expert with the country's largest firearms prevention organization. "Just letting anyone carry a pistol in their pocket unhindered — without special training, permission or paperwork — is very dangerous."

Conservative activists have lobbied for a gun-carrying bill for years, but have failed in the last three sessions. They called for a law to "bring freedom to the Lone Star State." Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill in June, which was approved by the House of Representatives with 82 to 67 votes respectively, despite protests from Democrats, police officials and gun control lawyers.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said open arms would make it difficult for a police officer to differentiate "the good guy with the pistol from the bad guy with the pistol."

“Owning and using a firearm safely involves not only familiarity with the weapon system, but also with the level of training and qualifications,” says Frank Straub, head of the Research Center for Mass Violence at the National Police Foundation.

Known as the 1927 Act, it applies to Texans who are 21 years of age or older, except for people prohibited from using firearms, people with a criminal record, domestic violence and terrorist threats. Previously, before this law came into force, residents were required to obtain a license to carry weapons and pass special training with an exam at the end.

Republicans who supported the bill argue that the lack of a license erases "artificial barriers" between the rights of every resident according to the constitution, to carry weapons with them in order to be able to “protect their lives and their families in public places”.

"This bill is a revival of the trust of our residents," says state senator Charles Schwertner, Republican and sponsor of the law. "If a person owns a weapon, he can carry it with him."

Thus, Texas joined several other states (Tennessee, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming) to legalize carrying weapons after a series of episodes of mass shooting.

More than 40 states allow people to wear semi-automatic weapons in public places without a license and special training. 5 states, including California and the District of Columbia, ban long guns, only Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Jersey require permission to carry long-barreled weapons.

In the capitals of 29 states, residents can carry loaded long-barreled weapons.

“As we can see, extremism continues to grow in this country, we also see people who are not afraid to openly carry weapons to rallies and protests, to elections, to government agencies and then to the Capitol on January 6, ” says Shannon Watts, founder of the Moms Demand Action Foundation, which has been fighting for the safe carry of firearms since 2012, when 20 children and 6 teachers were shot dead at Hook Elementary School.

Officials say carrying weapons openly will make police work more dangerous.

Earlier this year, police officials held an open conference in Austin to oppose the open carrying of weapons. The conference was attended by Garcia, Chief of Police for Dallas and Doug Griffis, President of the Houston Police Association. “We don't ask for much, at least a minimum level of training,” Garcia said.

“This law is dangerous for our guys, women and men, ”he added.

“One of the reasons why carrying a weapon openly is dangerous is the inability to correctly assess the intentions of a person walking down the street in military clothes and holding a pistol,” says Karvorski.

On the subject: Self-defense or danger to society: who and why owns weapons in the USA

While everyone has the opportunity to buy and carry weapons, according to the second amendment to the Constitution, according to Straub, people should take a responsible approach to this process.

Not everyone should have access to weapons, it is necessary to limit them to people prone to domestic violence or suicide, mentally unhealthy.

Photo: Shutterstock

Research has shown that carrying a weapon openly can increase aggressive behavior in society.

The 2019 mass shooting at Walmart in El Paso and episodes in Midland and Odessa that killed 30 people and injured hundreds prompted Abbott and Governor Dan Patrick to quickly reconsider the gun control in Texas.

Abbott emphasized the need to limit Texas officials' influence on the legalization process for firearms rights.

Texas has seen a steady increase in mass shootings over the past four years. By August 31, the number of shootings in the state reached 38. This is 40% higher than in the previous year during this period. By August 31, 464 shootings in mass places were recorded across the country, 418 last year and 286 in 2019.

CNN and GVA define shooting as mass, if 4 or more people were killed or wounded in it, not counting the shooter.

Several episodes with a large number of casualties prompted the authorities to tighten arms control. In 2016, in Dallas, 5 police officers were killed and 7 injured.

White nationalists who were on The Rally of the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, stormed the city with pistols and rifles. As a result of the incident, 1 person was killed and 19 people were injured. The terrorist drove his car into the crowd of protesters.

The report, published last week by Everytown and the Armed Conflict Event and Location Data Collection (ACLED), includes a study of 560 events between January 2020 and June 2021 involving demonstrators, counter-demonstrators, or other individuals or groups, or holding a firearm weapon, or waving it.

“Contrary to claims that the presence of weapons in public places makes it safer for people to be there,” the report says, “demonstrations with at least one armed man tend to be violent or destructive 16% of the time.”

The study found that armed protests are almost six times more likely to be violent or destructive than unarmed protests. While armed demonstrations become violent or destructive about 16% of the time, unarmed demonstrators may turn to violence 3% of the time, the report said.

“The data shows that visible weapons make people more aggressive, so the next logical step is to believe that overt wearing increases the likelihood that divisions will escalate into violent conflicts,” said Watts of Moms Demand Action.

Experts believe that proactive laws are part of the problem.

In 2013, Watts said a group of mothers who were volunteers at Moms Demand Action were having lunch at a restaurant in the Dallas area when they encountered a group of 40 men openly armed with long-barreled weapons.

“They pretended to be targeting the volunteers in the restaurant, and the manager couldn’t do anything because it was legal to carry long guns openly,” she said. "We were shocked that this was legal behavior and it seemed like a disturbing practice that was supposed to intimidate and silence us."

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According to Watts, in states where the open carrying of weapons allowed, members of the organization were usually surrounded by mostly armed people during rallies, marches, volunteer events and private meetings. Volunteers from Moms Demand Action have helped dozens of corporations to ban open carrying of weapons in Texas since 2013, and they will continue their work on the new law.

Part of the problem lies in proactive laws that force cities to “bear the brunt of gun violence by preventing policy changes that might solve it,” Watts said.

These laws have been passed in more than 40 states, including Texas, prohibiting cities and local municipalities from taking their own security measures when handling weapons.

“The existence of broad pre-emptive laws is incredibly limiting local leaders when they want to find local solutions to counter firearms, including open carrying, ”said Everytown's Karwoski.

As a result, he said, densely populated cities and large urban centers are subject to the same rules and regulations as rural and suburban areas, where the crisis of gun violence is very different.

“This means that the locals cannot do anything locally,” added Karwoski. “If they try to do this, they can be prosecuted, fined and other punishments that are always imposed on them. a deterrent effect on anyone who wants to restrict the use of weapons. "

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