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Abbott gets pushback regarding open carry of handguns

Moms group says background checks should come first

SAN ANTONIO – Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott is being criticized by one group for his stated willingness to sign into law any bill that comes before him allowing the open carrying of handguns in Texas.

At his initial news conference as governor-elect on Wednesday, Abbott said he is in favor of open carry in Texas.

"Throughout the campaign I announced my support for open carry in Texas," Abbott said. "Texas, as I understand it, is only one of about seven or so states in the United States of America that does not have open carry."

Currently rifles and shotguns can be carried in public in a nonthreatening manner, but handguns have to be hidden.

Anyone carrying a handgun must also have a concealed handgun permit.

Abbott said he would act to change that.

"If an open carry bill is passed by the House and Senate and arrives at my desk, I will sign it into law," Abbott said. "If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it's good enough for the state of Texas."

Two months ago, members of Open Carry Texas Women held a Goddesses with Guns rally in San Antonio to show support for changing the law.

Emily Grisham, a member of the group, said women want to open carry as well.

"OCT is not just a group of men, and we want our voices to be heard," Grisham said. "We don't want for them to speak for us."

Now a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has spoken out about Abbott's comments.

Group member Angela Turner said the moms are urging the governor-elect to hold off on legalizing the open carrying of handguns in Texas.

"The No. 1 thing for me as a mom is keeping my kids safe," Turner said.

Turner owns a firearm.

She also proudly displays a deer her husband shot.

But she said open carry should not come before stricter background checks.

"I'm a gun owner, and I know that 87 percent of gun owners like me support background checks," Turner said. "Massachusetts has some pretty strict laws with background checks, and Texas has some loopholes. You can get a gun here without a background check."

She urges Abbott to pass better background checks before an open carry law.

The Legislature convenes in January.

The first day to prefile bills is Monday.