Open Carry handgun law about to take effect, city of Grand Prairie briefs residents

Concealed carry license holders will be allowed to openly carry their guns in public on Friday, following years of controversy. This change in Texas law has many businesses rushing to decide how to handle customer concerns on both sides of the gun debate.

A packed crowd filled the hallway of the Grand Prairie Police Department Wednesday night, where police chief Steve Dye hosted a public forum to brief residents on the new law. The chief says it's about finding balance between respecting a gun owner's rights and keeping the public safe.

Guns will still be banned in courts, correctional facilities, polling places or around schools, but they will be allowed around places like city halls, libraries and parks.

Chief Dye says he expects a flood of 911 calls from concerned citizens shortly after the law takes effect. The chief also says only 0.5% of those convicted of a crime are CHL holders and he doesn't expect them to cause any problems.

Open or concealed carry, private businesses will still be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to allow guns. Some say they're waiting to see how the law plays out before adjusting their policies.

If a business doesn't want guns on its property it must display properly formatted signs; specifying in both English and Spanish, that a person may not carry a handgun. If someone is asked to leave and refuses they could be charged. If it's a business that makes at least 51% of its sales on alcohol the charge will be a felony.

The Grand Prairie Police Department will post the video and power point presentation from the meeting on its website.

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