Because of regulations imposed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, members of Open Carry Texas, an advocacy group that promotes the open carry law in Texas, will not be allowed to openly carry assault weapons inside the Texas Republican Convention, beginning Thursday in Fort Worth. The decision by the city comes as a result of a state law that forbids the carrying of weapons in an establishment with a liquor license.
But while those carrying assault weapons may not be allowed inside, their presence will still be felt as they take to the streets around the convention center. The protest, which comes on the heels of similar stunts by the group in public establishments, such as Starbucks and Chipotle, is meant to voice members’ support for a law that would allow Texans to openly carry handguns in public. Currently, state gun laws allow the open carry of long rifles, but not their shorter-barrelled brethren, which must be both concealed and licensed.
The National Rifle Association has condemned the group, calling its actions “downright weird.” Members of Open Carry Texas are up in arms because they believe that the NRA is selectively advocating gun rights. But the statement released by the NRA does not display any weakness on strong beliefs in the Second Amendment. The gun debate is one of many issues in politics that appeal to ideology more than pragmatism, and having a large number of gun carriers concentrated in a local business is alarming to people who choose not to exercise their right to openly carry a weapon. The argument that open carry proponents use — more guns mean more safety — is rendered moot when people do not feel safe, and the law puts guns in the hands of extremists. What could be more disconcerting than being surrounded by loaded weapons while trying to enjoy a cinnamon dolce latte?
Davis is an associate editor.