Police across Texas are bracing for a spike in 911 calls when the state's open carry law takes effect Jan. 1 and panicked citizens see handguns on people's hips, reports the Dallas Morning News. “For a while we'll be in a transition period, but it's something everyone's going to have to get used to,” said Lt. Pedro Barineau, a Garland police spokesman. Police will have to contend with the law's gray areas that will have to be settled in court. The law is unclear on when officers can demand to see a gun owner's license or whether they can arrest people who refuse to show the license. About 5 percent of Texans 21 and older have handgun licenses.
“The law is drafted so simply, it's really placed a huge burden on the shoulders of law enforcement in Texas to parse through these issues,” said Emily Taylor of Force Law Shield, a gun owners' legal defense group. Taylor trains police on open carry. Legislators created the new law by taking the word “concealed” out of the state's concealed carry handgun law and adding that openly carried handguns must be in a belt or shoulder holster. About 75 percent of police chiefs surveyed by the Texas Police Chiefs Association opposed open carry. Senior Corporal Fred Frazier, the Dallas Police Association's political action committee chairman, said many officers believed open carry would be a distraction and cause unnecessary panic. He says, “If it's not broke, don't fix it — the concealed carry has worked just fine.”