Texas police chiefs express concern over open carry law

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CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — At McBride’s Guns in Central Austin, gun sales are up in advance of an open carry law potentially being passed at the state Capitol. But Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix says there are several unanswered questions attached to the law.

“What are the requirements of open carry, what about proof of eligibility?” he said. “Will people have to carry it with them?”

All 84 of his officers attend training on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, and even more training will be required if the bill passes.

“I will say that’s just a reality,” said Mannix. “It is going to be difficult for the beat cop to know who should have a gun, who shouldn’t have a gun, and frankly there are people out there who shouldn’t own guns.”

Mannix also serves as the chair of the Texas Association of Police Chiefs. He worries open carry could make situations, like ones involving an active shooter, more dangerous.

“The last thing you want to see is somebody with a gun who’s not a police officer at an active shooter situation not immediately responding to commands to drop their weapon and get on the ground,” the chief said.

Mannix hopes lawmakers consider all the different possibilities before making a final decision.

A survey conducted last month by the Texas Association of Police Chiefs found 75 percent of chiefs are against the proposed new law. An overwhelming majority of police chiefs also say a CHL license should be required to carry a handgun in public and 95 percent of chiefs say a handgun should be holstered.

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