East Texas businesses react to upcoming 'open carry' law

East Texas businesses react to upcoming 'open carry' law
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Business is booming at Massingill's Meat Market, with no shortage of orders, as East Texans come with shopping lists in hand preparing for the Christmas holiday. But come January 1st, customers may soon enter stores with something else in plain view…guns.

"It's going to be different; it's definitely going to be different," said George Woods, manager at Lufkin Farm Supply.

Different is right. Under the new law, anyone with a concealed handgun license will be able to openly carry a gun in public. That includes many everyday businesses like Massingill's.

"Being ex-law enforcement, it's kind of a little uneasy sometimes to see a civilian not trained, allegedly, but they have a process they have to go through so we have to honor that," said Chris Ward, owner of Massingill's.

The ladies at Carolyn's Florist say it's an added level of security for both the person carrying and the business they enter.

"They're wearing it for protection and maybe they're in here shopping and someone comes in and tries to do something, I'll also know that they are carrying," said Tammy Kirkland of Carylon's Florist.

Kirkland, like many East Texans, grew up around guns. She says for that reason, the fear factor simply isn't there.

"I was raised with guns, used to seeing people with guns, so if I see someone with a gun come in, it doesn't change how I feel," Kirkland said.

Now if businesses don't want customers to open carry within their stores, they have that right. But to do so, there are specific signs they must post in their store windows.

An option the folks at Lufkin Farm Supply may consider.

"It's going to be challenging to decide which way to go. Do I allow them to come in do we post the new gun signs saying we won't allow them? It's something we're going to have to decide real quick," Woods said.

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