All you who have gone into full panic mode over open carry in Texas, please, settle down. You are upset over nothing. I’ve been all over the area the last three days, at hardware stores, grocery stores and shops of all sorts. Guess what? I’ve yet to see a single person open carrying a weapon.

Just as I predicted, we don’t have thousands of people parading around like Wyatt Earp on the street with a gun on their hip. First and foremost, you must have what was formerly the CHL (concealed handgun license) or as it is now known, the LTC (license to carry) to legally and legitimately open or conceal carry.

Criminals have never cared about gun laws before and their attitudes are no different today than they were on December 31st. Again, evil people with evil intentions will find a means to carry out those intentions if they so desire. A gun, a knife, a car, a truck, a baseball bat, name a potential weapon and an evil-hearted person will use whatever it takes. It’s not the object, but the intent of the person you need to watch out for.

Anyone who possesses a LTC has been background checked. They do NOT have a felony record. They have been vetted better than most politicians have been. They are no more threat to you or your family than a moth, so lighten up. Your society is safer if the good guys are armed.

On January 1, Texas became the 45th state to allow open carry. What about the other 44? What do the numbers say? Let’s look at some of our more immediate neighbors.

New Mexico. Police in New Mexico say it’s rare to see anyone open carry even though no permit is required to do so and problems are equally as rare. From Elpasoinc.com:

‘It’s not the wild, wild West’, said Las Cruces Police Sgt. Jerry Reeser, who ran the department’s officer training academy for 14 years.

‘We really don’t have that many people doing it,’ he said. ‘It’s not something you’re going to see every day or even every week. In my 20 years, I have probably encountered someone who is openly carrying six to eight times.’

How about Oklahoma? They’ve allowed open carry, with a permit, since 2012. Have you heard about all those mass shootings in Oklahoma because of open carry? Neither have I. A friend who lives there told me in three years he’s seen one man open carry in OKC. And that guy was a retired cop!

Louisiana has allowed open carry for many, many years. They, like New Mexico, are a ‘permissive carry’ state; that is, you do NOT need a permit to open carry in Louisiana, so long as you are otherwise legal to possess a firearm. My wife is from there. I’ve made dozens of trips there over last twenty years. I’ve been all over the state. I’ve never seen a single person open carrying, aside from perhaps a handful folks out ‘on the levee’ who were hunting or fishing. They have water moccasins down there. You need to carry.

And then there’s Kansas. Guess what? You can open carry in Kansas. They are, like Louisiana and New Mexico, a permissive carry state. You do not need a permit to openly carry a handgun. And I’ve been searching for that list of mass shootings in Kansas by people who were legally and openly carrying a firearm. Just can’t seem to locate it. Go figure.

Businesses, office buildings and anyone who is falling into pure panic mode, posting ‘No Guns Allowed’ signs, you really need to stop, take a deep breath and realize that your panic is not only unwarranted, it’s just foolish.