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New Texans find open carry openly scary

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Dallas/Ft. Worth has been one of the fasting growing areas in the nation due to its business-friendly environment, drawing thousands of big liberal city-dwelling gun-fearing people from all around the country who just aren't gun-savvy.

So consider this open carry report as an "open message" for all you Texas newbies.

If you walk into a store or restaurant somewhere in North Texas and see a small band of men and women strolling around with scary-looking firearms slung over their shoulders don't panic. They're likely just members of some open carry group expressing their Constitutional right to lug large weapons around in open view.

Groups like Open Carry Texas (OCT), Texans for Open Carry, Texas Carry, and Open Carry Tarrant County, along with some two dozen affiliated groups nationwide, have been making headlines and scaring people for some time now.

But their purpose is just the opposite. As OCT's Mission Statement puts it, they are "dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms openly in the State of Texas in accordance with the United States and Texas Constitution and applicable laws." They also want to "educate all Texans about their right to openly carry rifles and shotguns in a safe manner" and to "condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them."

The 530+ members of the Dallas County chapter of OCT has wandered into places like Walmart, Jack in the Box and Chipotle restaurants with AR15s and shotguns slung down their backs. While it was falsely reported that frightened Jack employees hid in their freezer employees in other stores have called the police.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest problem with inexperience and fear is that squeamish people become screamish people. Yet fear and loathing of guns and angry name-calling against responsible gun owners isn't the only possible response to the practice of open carry.

Local organizations like gun clubs, Second Amendment advocates and even Libertarian Party county affiliates might consider offering training seminars on what it means to be a safe and responsible gun-toting Texan.

There's an old saying "When in Rome do as Romans do." Open carry of guns is not an act of violence. Nobody is assaulting or intimidating anyone. After all, if newly-minted Texans can adapt to Texas-style Bar-B-Q, boots and buckles it may be time for them to stop demanding "Gun Sense in America" and actually learn some Texas style self defense gun sense.

Psychiatrists generally agree that the best antidote for irrational fear is education and familiarity.

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