Texas Lawmakers Talk About Expanding Gun Rights Day After Mass Shooting

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May 18, 2015 4:23 p.m.
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The day after a mass shooting between rival biker gangs in Texas left nine people dead, lawmakers in the state discussed a bill on Monday that would allow licensed gun owners to openly carry their weapons in public.

The bill, heard on Monday before the Senate state affairs committee, was expected to pass and reach Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), the Associated Press reported.

Previously, Abbott has said he supported an open carry law. His office did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment about whether the shooting would change things.

Assistant Chief Troy Gay from the Austin Police Department spoke during the hearing and made mention of Sunday’s shooting in Waco when he said open carry would have confused and complicated the efforts of law enforcement during “chaotic situations.”

“Officers responded very quickly but open carry would or could have potentially caused more confusion for officers responding to this type of situation,” Gay said.

An activist for the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is part of the organization created by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, urged the committee to vote against the bill. She said that while she’s a gun owner and has enrolled her son in shooting lessons, she doesn’t support the open carry bill because it’s unsafe and irresponsible.

The hearing came a day after two biker gangs took part in a shootout at Twin Peaks restaurant, which left nine dead and more than a dozen wounded, the Associated Press reported on Monday. About 170 bikers were taken into custody after the shooting.

Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety, mentioned the Waco, Texas shooting in an email to TPM:

“We don’t currently have a campaign on Twin Peaks but we are opposed to any establishment that serves alcohol allowing any firearms,” communications director Erika Lamb said. “Guns and alcohol just don’t mix.”

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