Houston gun owners say open carry comes with police harassment fears

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Firearm owners took to the microphone at a forum with Houston police to express concerns about the open carry law. (KTRK)

On January 1, Texans will be able to carry handguns openly or concealed as long as they have a license.

As we move closer and closer to that day, people are looking to city leaders to answer remaining questions.

Wednesday night, the district attorney and Houston police chief hosted a public meeting in which people were able to ask questions about the changes and existing law. Dozens of people turned out, many asking very specific questions.

One of the issues sparking conversation: police officers can ask anyone with a gun on their hip or in a holster under their shoulder to show their gun license at any time.

"Why is it that someone who's just minding their own business with no intent to cause any harm to anyone... in a legal place... why should they be harassed and demanded to show their license?" one man asked.

"Okay they're not going to be harassed, they're just going to be asked. But let me say this, it's because constitutional carry did not pass in Texas. And so officers have a right to make sure you have a license," said Devon Anderson, Harris County DA.

"If you are a licensed hand gun holder and you're openly holder, the goal is...take some responsibility. You keep yourself safe and you make it as safe as possible for the officer because the officer has no clue who you are. And you don't know what precipitated the officer to stop you. Did he receive a call?...Make the environment safe," said Houston police chief, Charles McClelland.

Both Anderson and McClelland noted some of the language on city websites could be clearer regarding the new law changes and said they'd take another look at the information provided.

For more information on the new gun laws in Texas, check out Texas Open Carry's information page.
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