East Texas legislators weigh in on open carry debate - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas legislators weigh in on open carry debate

SOurce: KTRE staff SOurce: KTRE staff
State Representative Trent Ashby State Representative Trent Ashby
State Representative Travis Clardy State Representative Travis Clardy
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When legislators head back to Austin on Jan.15, open carry will be at the forefront of the session.

"People I have met with are very supportive of open carry, and there's no question, it is going to be a hot topic that it is debated," said representative Trent Ashby.

As of now, guns like long rifles and shotguns are allowed to be carried in the open. Texas is one of only six states to not have an open carry law on the books.

"I think it shows that we deal with our firearms safely and responsibly," said representative Travis Clardy.

As of now, there are six proposed bills for the house to vote on that involve open carry. Clardy said if passed, he does not see a large amount of people walking the streets with guns.

"Of the 800,000 plus people that have concealed permits, most don't carry at any given time," Clardy said. "I think you would see relatively few people who would exercise an open cary permit."

Clardy added that his main concern is over the safety of people and that open carry should not be allowed in some instances. Ashby agreed with his counterpart.

"If someone wants to go through the process to be permitted to open cary, that's fine, Ashby said." "At the same time I think we have to be mindful of the private property laws that are on the books and if a property owner says they don't want to allow CHL or open cary on their property then I think they have the right to reject that."

Senator Robert Nichols said anyone wanting to open carry should be held to the same standards of a concealed handgun holder.

"To obtain a Concealed Handgun License, a citizen must be at least 21 years old; pass state and federal background checks; submit fingerprints to the Department of Public Safety and cannot be chemically dependent, among other requirements," Nichols said. "I would encourage these same standards for open carry. As open carry bills come before me in the upcoming Legislative session, I will evaluate each on its own merit."

Ashby and Clardy will be entering their second term and will remain desk mates in Austin. Both say they will lean on the other for support and make sure the voices of East Texans will be heard.

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