Both gun groups and those wanting more restrictions aren’t surprised by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ position on open carry laws. Davis, in a written statement to the Associated Press, stated that she did support the practice for handguns and had a vision for how that would work in Texas.
The questionnaire asked the state senator from Fort Worth if she supported open carry and why. Davis answered that she does, but that governmental should be sensitive to private property owners, who may not want allow open carry within their facilities.
Davis' declaration puts her in line with her likely Republican opponent in the governor's race, Attorney General Greg Abbott, who also supports open carry in Texas.
"Wendy Davis is an opportunist," said Alice Tripp, executive director with the pro-gun group Texas State Rifle Association. "She’s not pro-gun, she’s pro-Wendy Davis."
Tripp said Davis is using the open-carry argument to steal votes. She pointed to Davis' efforts in 2000 while serving on the Fort Worth City Council to get rid of a gun show that was reoccurring on city property.
"Do I think it will sway gun-owners?" Tripp said. "I don’t know, there aren’t many gun-owners that are Democrats any more."
Tripp acknowledged that Davis helped pass a bill that allows college students with a concealed handgun license to keep their weapon in their car while on campus, but said Davis also helped kill a comprehensive bill that would have also allowed students to carry their guns to class.
Kelly Burke with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America had a similar reaction to news of Davis’ open-carry position and said the issue has been swept into a political conversation.
"I just hope that anyone who is thinking of expanding open carry, the very first thing is let's deal with background checks, because to me that is a non-starter," Burke said.
Davis did go on to say she would apply the same rules to open carry that govern people wanting a concealed handgun license.
Van De Putte splits from Davis on gun issue
It may be the same ticket, but unlike Davis, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Leticia Van De Putte said she doesn’t support an open carry law at this time. Van De Putte recently spoke to the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith.
"The discussions that I’ve had with law enforcement back home, they think that open carry does not make their job any easier and I’m with them," Van De Putte said.
She said discussion on the subject of open carry doesn’t mean a law will get passed.
"Understand that before we passed the concealed weapon [law] we had several sessions a lot of data, a lot of groups," Van De Putte said. "We’ve haven’t heard that yet -- I mean it wasn’t on the Senate floor, it wasn’t in a Senate committee."
Van De Putte said even though an overwhelming number of those running for top statewide offices support a plan to make carrying a gun openly in public legal, as lieutenant governor she said she would remain with law enforcement and continue to oppose the issue.