In Texas, licensed gun owners are now legally allowed to openly carry handguns in public and certain private premises, provided that the handguns are inside holsters or carried in a belt. This has its own advantages and disadvantages.
One of the obvious advantages of open carry is that it can reduce crime. The mere fact that the public or private space has a person who is openly carrying a handgun is enough threat for bad guys to think twice, because of the possibility of retaliation and failure to commit the crime they want to commit. The fact that the handgun is openly carried is also an advantage, because it makes the handgun more accessible, and therefore the owner will be able to react and respond on time, in case a reaction or response is needed.
The overall advantage of having an open carry law in the state is safety.
It can also be said that the open carry law can promote the opposite of safety. Many people, especially who are not used to having deadly weapons lying around, will not feel very comfortable if some stranger in the premises has a holstered gun.
Even though open carry can reduce crime, it can also do the opposite, and this is because of abuse of accessibility of handguns and the ease of bringing them around premises.
But the danger doesn’t just involve bad guys. Even the good guys can pose as a threat to the general public, especially if they are inexperienced. There are known instances of accidental misfires. Causes of misfires may vary, but they mostly involve accidentally dropping the gun and negligently leaving live rounds in the gun’s chambers.
Another overlooked disadvantage is the confusion regarding the law. According to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, the open carry law stipulates that handguns should be in your belt or holster at all times, unless there is a legally justifiable reason to use the weapon. Even if you have such a reason, there is a chance that the police will still arrest you in the pretense that you broke the law. In other words, this open carry law can be a legal nightmare in its own right, and sometimes, you have to think if the advantages really outweigh the disadvantages.