Texas legislators hoping to make it legal to carry handguns openly in the state say Texas is one of just six states that prohibit it. A Texas Tribune analysis of gun laws nationwide shows the “one-in-six” figure paints an incomplete picture. That’s because many of the nation’s biggest cities are congregated in the states that prohibit it. If Texas passes a law allowing permit-holders to carry holstered handguns openly Houston and Dallas would become the largest metropolitan areas in the nation to allow it. Among the top five metro areas by population, they would be the only two where handguns could be carried openly.
“If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it's good enough for the state of Texas,” says Gov Greg Abbott. Under the proposal, Texas would become an outlier among states with large urban populations, a category currently occupied by Georgia and Arizona. With the exception of South Carolina, states that prohibit open carry — Texas, Florida, California, Illinois and New York — are also home to the country's largest cities. The laws in other states with urban areas that allow open carry tend to be more restrictive than what's proposed in Texas’ bill. Philadelphia, the sixth largest metro area after Houston, allows open carry. It requires those who wish to carry a handgun to apply in person with the local police department.