By Wyatt Goolsby
ODESSA - Should Texans be able to openly wear guns on their hips? It's a question some are taking straight to the Governor's Office. A new online petition is calling for an Open Carry Law for handguns across the Lone Star State.
Currently in Texas, if you have a license, citizens are allowed by law to possess a concealed handgun. Now, more than 47,000 people have signed an online petition at opencarry.org, calling for gun owners with a concealed hangun licence to openly walk around displaying their weapons. On Thursday, we found there are pluses and minuses to openly packing heat.
"Intimidation. There are some people that are intimidated just by seeing a firearm," Kimberly Stafford, the owner of Tejas Shooting Sports in Odessa, explained.
Stafford called herself a "Gun Nut" and said education is key, especially if you've never used a gun before.
"I know what it was like to step into the industry, and to be a gun nut, and coming from a position of not knowing anything, coming from a position of being a non-shooter," Stafford said.
Stafford offers classes as part of getting a Concealed Hangun License. She told NewsWest 9 there's a big difference between openly carrying a gun and keeping one hidden.
"From a tactical perspective, who does the bad guy go for first? The person who is carrying openly?" Stafford explained.
But what about the possibility of an Open Carry Law in Texas?
"It doesn't matter to me one way or the other, as long as you're not a convicted felon, I couldn't care less," Stafford said. "If you want to carry a firearm whether concealed or open, I wouldn't have a problem with having legislation for both like States like Arizona."
For Stafford, it's all about education, and Sergeant Gary Duesler, with the Ector County Sheriff's Department agrees. He said, personally, he pushes responsibility.
"They're not trained in these gun concealment classes how to handle an Armed Robbery. What do you do? That's why we go to school continually to learn other things. They are not cops. They are people carrying weapons, and there is a boundary, there is a difference between them," Sgt. Duesler explained.
Duesler said he's not necessarily against an Open Carry Law, but said he hopes gun owners won't take their rights for granted.
"Because there are some people that they should be able to do that if they care themselves responsibly, and it all boils down to that person," Duesler said. "Every time. That's what it all is going to boil down to."