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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Local businesses need to evaluate their open carry policies

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Guns have been the root of many crimes in America, ranging from crimes stemming from police brutality, crimes within communities or shootings sparked by hatredThe ability to easily obtain firearms has increased throughout the years as Americans feel the need to protect themselves with weapons, an understandable feeling with the current heated events across the U.S.
However, with House Bill 1927, a newly passed law by Gov. Greg Abbott, rogue gun enthusiasts now have little to no barriers when it comes to purchasing deadly weapons. To ensure the safety of their patrons, local businesses must take the necessary steps to regulate the ability to carry firearms in their establishments.
House Bill 1927 allows adults 21 years of age or older to possess a firearm in non-prohibited public spaces without any licenses or training. Starting Sept. 1, background checks and training measures that were once established will no longer be in place. It will now be extremely easy for people, unaware of the responsibility and weight that comes with owning a gun, to obtain one.
Gun mishaps are common occurrences, and problems could arise in local businesses leading suddenly to injuries in an armed fight. These injuries could be a result of not putting the safety on, malfunctioning of the gun itself, heated arguments, or even a child grabbing the gun. All incidents could happen anytime and any place. It is not uncommon for guns to accidentally go off, most often killing people under the age of 25.
Each state has its own set of rules when it comes to concealed carry into businesses. In Texas, private businesses must display their individual gun carry laws outside their establishment to prevent any unnecessary confusion. If the rule is not explicitly said or shown, then many Americans will presume they can carry a gun.
In Washington, citizens are allowed to carry guns inside restaurants, but only in areas where persons under the age of 21 are allowed, such as dining areas. Additionally, gun carriers cannot consume or have consumed liquor, beer, or wine ensuring gun holders are held responsible, even in restaurants.
The new bill still prohibits individuals from carrying a firearm into a bar, which is defined as any establishment that earns 51% in alcohol sales. Those who violate this law could serve between two and 10 years in prison and be fined up to $10,000. This portion of the law holds carriers accountable to a point, however, gun owners can still drink and carry at restaurants, removing the accountability from carrying and drinking. Some local restaurants, such as KAsian, do not have any gun policies of their own.
Firearms are not toys, and they should not be regarded as such. Giving guns out to the public with no guidance or training restrictions will only lead to tragedy and increased gun crimes. There are training courses recommended for those who decide to purchase firearms, however, these courses need to be required. People cannot assume they can easily defend themselves by simply “pointing and shooting” with no training.
The right to bear arms was put in place to defend oneself from attacks, yet there have been numerous mass shootings across America where gun owners have instead attacked innocent people. Public places including nightclubs, grocery stores, and restaurants have been the scenes of deadly shootings. Allowing any person to openly carry their guns in establishments breeds unsafe situations.
Federal law has prohibited certain groups from obtaining guns such as felons and persons less than the age of 18 years. However, guns continue to be easily obtained, whether that be legally or illegally. In Texas, individuals do not need a permit to purchase a handgun or long arm, nor do they need to register those types of guns.
With this newfound law going into action in September, it will only make obtaining and using guns an easier occurrence. People will be able to carry their firearms legally and openly.
There has to be a middle ground reached by the state government or firm rules enforced by local businesses. Public establishments need to become stricter on their policies and explicitly display their stance on open carry, so that there is no room for misunderstanding. As for the government, if the firearm was not fired with the purpose of self-defense or some heroic event then there needs to be a justifiable consequence. House Bill 1927 gives the masses too much free reign, which can only cause residents more harm than good if not handled in a serious manner.
America has an issue with gun violence, and Abbott is choosing to ignore the issues surrounding it. Business goers and owners should not have to live in fear that a stray bullet may hit them, while working or visiting an establishment. Individuals who choose to carry guns need to be trained, licensed and held accountable.
– Jackie Broussard is a journalism sophomore
The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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