Chief Acevedo expresses disgust with 'Open Carry' amendment

Leading up to Monday's House vote on the Open Carry bill, Representative Harold Dutton from Houston, a Democrat, proposed an amendment that prohibits peace officers from stopping and questioning someone based solely on the fact that a person is openly carrying a handgun in their holster.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is not happy with this idea.

On Tuesday the Chief took to Twitter to express his disgust. If it is passed as is, if open carry becomes law, he feels it will tie officers hands when it comes to just asking questions.

"If the law requires you to have a CHL in order to open carry, then how do you prohibit officers from checking if you have that CHL in the first place?" he said.

Acevedo says it's like a backdoor "Constitutional carry" law that's not responsible.

"Open carry in a situation where law enforcement can't even ask, I think is a recipe to allow anybody, whether they're drug cartel members here that are from part of Mexico or you know gang members or anybody that wants to walk around with guns. And law enforcement...there's not a thing they can do about it as long as they just have it holstered and...can't even ask a question," Acevedo said.

Representative James White is a joint author of House Bill 910. He supported Representative Dutton's amendment. He says the discussion is not over yet though.

"We need to be sensitive to the challenges of our law enforcement about this and...again that's an amendment. So that is one issue that will be part of the conference committee discussion. It may stay, it may not. We'll see," White said.

Gun store owner Michael Cargill says the amendment shouldn't be a problem for police.

"You will know a bad guy versus a good guy with a gun. The bad guy with a gun is going to be the one that's shooting at you. The good guy with a gun is going to be the one that's holding some groceries," he said.

On Twitter, some came to the Chief's defense. 'Jane' said "I completely agree. Thanks for all you do, Chief. Moms truly appreciate you and we're not going away."

The Chief says he's not completely against open carry. He says it makes sense in rural areas where everyone knows each other. But not necessarily in populated areas like downtown Austin.

Vivian Zuniga is visiting from Denton. We asked her if open carry will make her feel less safe.

"No. If you are intelligent enough to carry a weapon to have a license, know how to use it...I think it'll make things a lot better. A lot safer," she said.

Representative White says the next step is the authors of the House and Senate versions of the bill will get together and hammer out the differences.

A committee report will go back to both chambers for an up or down vote.

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