Texas is considered to have some of the most permissive gun laws in the nation, but gun-rights advocates are making it one of their top political targets because it is one of a handful of states that don't allow handguns to be carried openly.
"It's shocking that Texas, with its history of rugged individualism that the state symbolizes, doesn't allow open carry," said John Pierce, a co-founder of and spokesman for www.OpenCarry.org. If the Legislature doesn't approve an open-carry bill when it convenes in January, "then we'll see them in 2013," Pierce said, referring to that session of the Legislature.
Texans have been able to get licenses to carry concealed handguns in most places since 1995. Gun-rights advocates say it's time to let Texans pack their pistols in full public view as well.
Texas -- where it's still not unusual in some areas to see shotguns and rifles on gun racks in pickups -- is one of seven states -- the others are Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma and South Carolina, plus Washington, D.C. -- without an open-carry law.
This month, Oklahoma lawmakers overwhelmingly approved an open-carry bill, only to have it vetoed by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry. The battle there continues as the House fell just short Thursday in a vote to override the veto. Legislators say they may try another override in the closing days of their session this week.
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