Texas Lawmakers Talk About Expanding Gun Rights Day After Mass Shooting

A Texas flag sticks out of the barrel of a rifle belonging to Robert Perez, as he and others with the group Open Carry Tarrant County gathered for a demonstration, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Haltom City, Texas. North... A Texas flag sticks out of the barrel of a rifle belonging to Robert Perez, as he and others with the group Open Carry Tarrant County gathered for a demonstration, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Haltom City, Texas. North Texas gun rights advocates are suing the city of Arlington for amending an ordinance that they claim is discriminatory and infringes upon free speech rights, in the latest sign of growing tensions among gun activists and government forces in Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) MORE LESS
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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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Notable Replies

  1. Guns (open carry or concealed) + Booze = One Super Fun Time!

  2. If you are an innocent bystander, a gun on your hip turns you into an immediate threat. If the lawmakers succeed in passing this law, next time there won’t be any uninjured bystanders.

  3. Welcome to the Brave New World the NRA has created. An America where gangs can freely roam with guns and where any incident can degenerate into a bloodbath. An America where any person with high capacity weapons can turn any location into a massacre, whether a movie house, work place, or elementary school. This article actually brought tears to my eyes. Have we had enough yet?

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