Texas is so gun-friendly that it is easier to get into the Capitol in Austin with a firearm than without one — licensed, gun-carrying lawmakers and members of the public have their own no-wait security lane, and the unarmed masses have to stand in line and slog through the metal detectors.
But on Friday, gun rights throughout the state expanded still more, as a new law took effect that allows certain Texans to wear their handguns in holsters on their hips — or in shoulder holsters, Dirty Harry-style — openly displaying the fact that they are armed as they work, shop, dine and go about their day.
The so-called open-carry law has set off a long-simmering debate over the limits of the Texas gun culture and has given gun rights advocates a hard-fought victory after they pushed for the expansion for years. Members of the pro-gun group Open Carry Texas were to gather at noon Friday on the south steps of the Capitol for a gun-on-their-hips celebration before walking down Congress Avenue. Other groups plan to display their weaponry at events in Houston, Dallas and other cities.