The new open carry law will be in full effect starting January first, but it has some people concerned about when to notify police of suspicious activity and if those who choose to openly carry have enough training.
Wichita Falls Police Sergeant Harold McClure said he does not have a problem with people carrying their guns concealed or openly.
Although he does stress in additional to having a license to carry and keeping it on you, training is key. Soon people will be able to openly carry firearms where it's not restricted, but what does that mean for those who choose not to?
“The big difference will be for the public that’s not use to seeing someone walks around with a handgun on their hip or if they see one in a shoulder holster,” said Sgt. McClure.
He has a reminder for those who may feel threatened.
“Those that are going to carry are going to be license holders, so they’re going to be very well aware of what they can and cannot do,” said Sgt. Mcclure.
WFPD along with other police officers around the state of Texas are prepared for this new law.
“Our officers are aware. They have been trained, and we know what to expect,” said Sgt. McClure.
He said gun owners need to be properly trained too, and it is their responsibility to fulfill this requirement.
Owner of Point Blank License to Carry and Texas CHL instructor Chris Reitsma agrees.
He said license holders need more training than just the state’s minimum criteria, and advanced handgun classes will enhance their skills.
“Most of its mental but they will learn more advanced shooting skills, engaging in multiple targets and about speed and accuracy,” said Reitsma.
The new law is having a slight impact on his class attendance, but what's really making those numbers rise? He said it is incidents like in California and possible terrorist threats.
As for his own person preference, he said he feels at a disadvantage if he did not keep his handgun concealed.
“The bad guy won't attack me because he knows I have a gun, that thinking is ludicrous,” said Reitsma.
Sgt. McClure warns those who choose to openly carry their firearms need to be aware of the laws and restrictions that will still exist, and to be on the lookout for signage posted at businesses that may have gun restrictions.
He adds to make sure to keep your handgun license on you while carrying, or you could face a disorderly conduct charge.
Those who have a CHL will be grandfathered in and automatically receive their license to carry.