Open carry meeting draws big crowd

Residents have questions, concerns about new law

SAN ANTONIO – Residents on the city's West Side crowded Bazan Library on Tuesday night to hear more about the new open carry law that goes into effect on New Year's Day.

Many of the attendees told KSAT 12 News that they went to the meeting to ask questions about the law, which allows a concealed handgun license holder to carry their weapon openly in a belt or shoulder holster.

Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association officials organized the meeting because they said there were a lot people in the community who are confused and scared by the new law.

"In this community, there is a lot of crime and nobody can tell me otherwise," Jason Mata, a Prospect Hill resident, said. "I mean, I've been living here for 43 years and I work here and I work with the people here and I can tell you that there is a lot of safety concerns with this open-carry. It might add to that, but we don't know. But we want to be prepared for that."

Also in the crowd, people who wanted to express their support for the open carry law.

"Texas will become the 45th state to allow to open carry," Rick Briscoe of Open Carry Texas said. "The experience with the other 44 states is that it has not been a significant problem, so the largest problem is if people want to make it a problem."

Because of the large turnout, organizers said they plan on holding a follow-up meeting next Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Blanco Ballroom.

State Rep. Diego Bernal, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus were scheduled to give their perspective on the law and to answer questions about it.

"I would tell folks if they are concerned about the law, not to be, let the law kick in," McManus said. "My experience in things that have happened and not happened in other cities is usually nothing remarkable occurs when that law kicks in. And, in the instances where we do get a call, we'll know how to handle it."

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