Some Texans raise concerns over permitless carry law, but experts say there's no need to panic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As of Sept. 1, permitless carry is legal in Texas, which means as long as a person is not prohibited from possessing a gun, they can carry a handgun without going through training or getting a license.

This has some Houston leaders concerned about how it could impact safety.

"[On Wednesday], Texas is putting into effect a law that makes no sense. It's a law that will actually make Texas less safe," said Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

Houston Police Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite says overwhelmingly, the people who engage in crimes in our city are not able to legally carry a firearm, but of course, they have guns. That's why he is pleading for responsible gun ownership.

"Last year, the city experienced over 400 homicides. Over 350 of them were with a firearm. This year, we are over 300 already, and most of them are with a firearm. We are asking for gun responsibility. If you are going to carry, we are asking you to make sure that that weapon does not fall into the hands of a criminal," said Satterwhite.

SEE ALSO: What to know about 'constitutional carry' now that it's in effect

Some families impacted by gun violence also feel the new law is a step in the wrong direction. Angelica Halphen lost her 18-year-old son, Harrison, after a road rage shooting in 2019.

She says she is concerned about guns in the hands of more people who may act without thinking.

"You're not trained. You're not trained like these officers or anybody from the armed forces. You don't know how you're going to handle it in a situation. Are you going to freeze? Are you going to overreact? So all of these people think now they've been given the right to take the law into their hands and that's what scares me the most," explained Halphen.

George Clendenin, owner and chief instructor at Integrity Firearm Training Center, said people should not be panicked by the new law, explaining that as a state, we have been here before.

"When open carry came and campus carry came to Texas, there was a lot of unrest, there was a lot of speculation, there was a lot of 'the sky is falling.' You don't have to worry about it in Texas. People that were responsible will hopefully continue being responsible. The only thing about constitutional carry, or HB-1927, is that it's got a lot that people need to catch up with as far as the legal aspects of it," explained Clendenin.

Clendenin encourages people who want to carry to still take time to understand the rules and safety measures, even though, by law, you do not have to take a training course.

"It's not really about your rights, it's about your stewardship. So you might have something that's freely available to you, but are you truly responsible with it or not?" asked Clendenin. "If my daughter was 13, I wouldn't toss the keys to her and say, 'Go drive to downtown Houston and the Galleria,' with no training, no course, no nothing. It is the same thing with a pistol. Just because you've got the right to do it, doesn't mean it's a good idea for you, and especially if you haven't had any training at all. It's not a good idea"
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