Gun advocates fight for 'open carry' at Guns Across America rally

 The Guns Across America 3 Rally drew a big crowd Saturday afternoon at the State Capitol.
"Open carry" is a complex issue, even with second amendment supporters.  Some want "constitutional carry" or unlicensed open carry...while others, like Terry Holcomb are fighting for open carry with a license.

"Do I support unlicensed open carry?  Of course I do.  Is there any realistic chance we can get that done this session?  There is none.  And it's not just because that we can't get the votes for it.  It's been handled wrong from the very beginning by the proponents of this bill...who they had file it, the language in the bill, a lot of things have been a problem.  We've done it the right way," Holcomb said.

Michael Cargill with Central Texas Gun Works supports the constitutional carry bill.

"Why do you need to carry this gun?  Or why do you need to do this?  It's not about a need and it's not called the 'Bill of Needs,' it's called the Bill of Rights," Cargill said.

Victor Reed says he's the cousin of death row inmate Rodney Reed.  He was at the Capitol for his cousin's rally...and he didn't see eye to eye with Cargill.

"If you're having a child right, you should be able to carry your gun in the waiting room or wherever?" Reed asked Cargill.
"Absolutely," Cargill responded.

"The dude just said that he would have a gun in [the] birth of his child!  Come on man!  Come on brother," Reed said.  "I'm one of those people that know that when you put a weapon in your hand, bad things happen.  I mean anybody that was raised in this state, the first thing that you learn when you're a young man is if you pull out a gun, you're supposed to use it," he said.

Both the licensed open carry bill and a campus carry bill made it out of a Senate committee last week.

C.J. Grisham with Open Carry Texas just retired from the Army after 20 years.  Now he's completing his degree.  So as a student, he's rooting for that campus carry bill too.

"So if an active shooter comes into the classroom where I'm learning History II or Texas Government, I can't do anything about it.  I have the means, I have the ability.  But what I don't have is the opportunity because the state has taken that away," Grisham said.

Kristen Katz is with the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.  She says there are many reasons why Senate Bill 11 is a bad idea.

"They could just have a bad day one day and be in a classroom environment, maybe they just got an F on a test in Biology class that's gonna keep them out of going to medical school.  And if they have a gun on them, they could aim it at themselves or somebody else without really having to take the time to stop and think about their actions, because it's right there," Katz said.

Katz says they'll be there when campus carry is discussed on the Senate floor.  In the meantime they're getting the word out to student groups because she says many aren't even aware of the campus carry bill.
C.J. Grisham with Open Carry Texas says he's optimistic the Senate will okay open carry.  He says after the Senate is the House -- and he feels that's where the real fight will be.

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