The Kyle Police Department says it is prepared to handle the new open carry gun legislation that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Beginning tomorrow, the new law allows licensed gun owners to openly carry a firearm in public. In the past, persons with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) could carry a handgun on their person or in their vehicle so long as it was concealed from view.
The new legislation will be a change for both licensed gun owners and Kyle residents who may not be familiar with the particulars of the law.
“We recognize the new open carry law may cause some confusion for Kyle residents,” Barnett said. “After all, they probably aren’t used to seeing anyone walk around in public with a handgun visible.”
He said his department has new procedures in place to help mitigate any issues while simultaneously maintaining the rights of those who legally carry a firearm.
“Our police department reviewed the opinions of the Texas Attorney General regarding open carry,” he said. “We then enacted internal procedures with our 911 dispatchers to gather as much information as possible from concerned residents who call when they see someone with a gun.”
Questions from 911 dispatchers may include whether the person in question is brandishing or waving a gun around or if there is an altercation between two parties.
But merely walking down the street with a gun holstered at a person’s side will be legal beginning tomorrow, Jan. 1, 2016.
The new legislation has a provision that allows law enforcement officers to stop and question any person with an openly visible firearm. The officers may also request a copy of that person’s Texas gun license. There does not need to be any probable cause for the officer to stop a person carrying a handgun in public.
Under existing Texas law, residents already have the right to openly carry a long gun, such as a shotgun, in public.
Barnett added, “Our officers have been trained to respond with their usual professionalism while taking into consideration the effect of — and possibly confusion about — the new laws as well as the rights of licensed gun carriers.”