A new law in Texas went into effect on September 1 that allows legal gun owners to openly carry their firearms in public without a license. Texas is the 20th and largest state to enact a constitutional carry law, which applies to anybody over the age of 21 who is not barred from owning a gun.
Smith told the news station that while no training is required to openly carry a gun, he is advising first-time gun buyers to take a safety class before walking around with a firearm on their hip.
“We have had some customers in shopping and expressed exactly that they are buying a gun now because of constitutional carry. I would just hope, as I discussed with them, if you never handled a firearm before, you shouldn’t just start carrying right now. You probably need to take some classes,” Smith said.
While Texans no longer need a permit, officials are urging people to apply for one because they offer other benefits. In addition to the reciprocity agreement with other states, those who get a license are exempt from a background check when they purchase guns in the future.
The Firearm Carry Act of 2021, which was signed into law in June, requires the state to track the number of firearm incidents for the next five years, allowing lawmakers to see how the law impacts gun violence in the state.