Dan Patrick on open carry: An explainer

Dan Patrick on open carry: An explainer

Photo: Screenshot of a Dan Patrick campaign ad

AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday refused to say how he’d vote on open carry legislation filed this session, saying while he doesn’t think the effort has the support necessary to pass in the state Legislature, he wouldn’t block the bill in the Senate if it had the necessary votes.

The remarks, made during a conversation with Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith, largely echoed statements he’s made in the past that the legislative will might be lacking to pass open carry. His unwillingness to take a hard and fast stance to promote the effort, however, goes against promises he made on the campaign trail to “fight” for open carry.

Speaking the day after pro-gun advocates again flocked to the state Capitol, Patrick said he thought “Second Amendment rights are important” but he didn’t think “there’s support in the Legislature to pass” a bill to legalize the open carry of handguns. In Texas, you can openly tote long arms like rifles and AR-15s, but the same has been illegal for handguns for more than 125 years.

“On open carry I’ve been very consistent, that if the votes are there, the bill will pass out of the Senate,” said Patrick. “But I’m not an open carry person myself. I wouldn’t open carry but I respect people’s right who want to.”

When Smith pressed the Houston Republican whether he would be a “yea” or “nay” vote for open carry if he was still a senator, Patrick deflected, saying, “I don’t have a vote anymore.”

“That’s not an answer,” Smith shot back, to which Patrick finally responded, “If I was going to vote against it, then as lieutenant governor I would hold the bill. I just said I’m going to let the bill move, OK?”

Patrick, who co-sponsored legislation in 2013 to legalize concealed carry on college campuses, also said he thinks the votes are there this year to allow gun toting at universities. On Monday, a campus carry bill filed boasted a super-majority of 19 co-sponsors, the exact number needed to pass the bill out of the Senate under new rules the chamber passed last week.

While Patrick’s comments on open carry Tuesday morning were nothing new – he ‘s made similar statements on news programs and at town hall meetings in the recent past – they seem to contradict campaign material that promised the then state senator and radio show host would more actively support the effort. On his campaign website, one of the five “Second Amendment” issues Patrick lists as…..read more here. 

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