Gordon Taylor said he’s been a gun owner since he was 10 years old, and he’s owned a local gun and ammunition store since 2009.
The 55-year-old Taylor said the right to carry a gun should be afforded to almost anyone, but he’s not sure House Bill 1927 was the right law to be passed by the Texas Legislature this year. The so-called “constitutional carry” law went into effect Wednesday and allows most everyone age 21 and older to legally carry a gun in public without a permit or training as long as they are not otherwise prohibited from doing so by law, such as having been convicted of a felony or domestic violence.
“I think people need to be educated before they strap on a gun, period,” Taylor said. “And that’s been thrown out the window.”
Taylor, who owns Black Gold Guns & Ammo, 2001 Karbach St. Ste. F, said Tuesday he had not seen an uptick in gun sales in response to the new law and did not necessarily expect to. But he said he’s concerned that more guns will end up in the hands of citizens who do not know how to use them safely and responsibly.
Before the new law took effect, handgun owners were required to submit fingerprints and complete a training course and written exam along with a shooting proficiency test in exchange for a license to legally carry the weapon either openly or in a concealed manner. Texas gun owners can still complete that process, but they are no longer required to by law.
Firearms could nonetheless be obtained and carried illegally. Now law-abiding citizens also have a clearer path to carrying a gun in public.
“It’s just going to kind of level out the playing field,” Taylor said. “Not only the bad people are going to have guns now. Everybody is going to have an equal shot at it.”
Private businesses can still choose not to allow guns on their premises and must post signs indicating as such. And it remains a felony to carry a gun inside a business that gets the majority of its revenue from alcohol sales, such as a bar or liquor store.
Taylor said he thinks novice gun owners who have not gone through the licensing process might be unaware they cannot legally carry handguns in all places within the state.
“I see a whole lot of real good people finding themselves in a whole lot of serious trouble,” he said.
The permit-less carry law, while being passed by the majority-Republican state legislature, has drawn praise from conservatives such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Upon signing the bill into law in June, he said, “You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect guns rights. But today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat in favor of stricter gun-control laws, wrote Wednesday on Twitter that the new law “doesn’t make us safe. It makes it easier for people to settle scores with gunfire.”
Taylor suggested the new law could potentially have a self-policing effect among the general public.
“I think we’re fixing to have a lot more polite society,” he said. “Everybody’s going to be carrying a gun. You’re either going to be polite or get shot.”