Officers inform Dallas community about open carry

Law enforcement across Texas is trying to ready the public and their officers about the new open carry law that will allow for weapons to be worn publicly.

Dallas police have been holding meetings in various communities to help people understand and at the same time, try to ease fears.

Open carry becomes official in Texas on Jan. 1.

“So the lingo that you'll start to hear now is LTC, license to carry,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Cotner with the Dallas Police Department. “The change is everything that was working under CHL just becomes license to carry, with one addition.”

Under open carry, guns must be holstered on a belt or worn on the shoulder. Businesses like barber shops and malls can post signs banning either concealed weapons, open carry or both.

Lawrence Doughty, Jr., owns Hollywood Janitorial and feels like open carry makes it easier for bad actors to blend in and do their work in the open.

“Everybody has the right to protect themselves, but for a business to survive, we don’t need guns coming in because it’s too easy to rob,” he said.

Places where government meetings take place, like commissioners court and city council, are off limits, along with buildings that house courts, like the George Allen Courts Building.

However, there are public parts of government buildings in city hall, even police headquarters, that would be OK for open carry.

“In the absence of San Bernardino, I think we'd all have a little less stress level on this, but we all feel like it’s going to happen again,” said Chief Robert DeGroot with Dallas County Security Services. “It’s just a question of where or when, so the idea of people walking around with slung rifles, it just makes us all a little bit nervous. So you’re trying to find that common ground between making sure that rights are protected but making sure public safety's addressed as well.”

Some at a Wednesday meeting who are concealed handgun license holders hold strong opinions against open carry.

“I just think it’s kind of scary, and I have no intentions of carrying my pistol on my hip, but I don’t intend to leave home without it,” said concealed handgun license holder Betty Culbreath.”

The city has produced a video about open carry. It's online at http://www.dallascitynews.net/opencarry

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