On Nov. 4, Republican Greg Abbot overwhelmingly defeated Democrat Wendy Davis by over 20 percentage points to become governor of Texas. In one of his first announcements after his win, Abbot said during a press conference Nov. 5 he would sign a bill to legalize the open carry of handguns if one came to his desk.
Texas, to the surprise of many, does not permit open carry of most handguns. Over the past year, the state’s open carry movement has garnered national attention during rallies and demonstrations where they have carried rifles openly, which is legal in Texas. Many shared photographs of the rallies at popular restaurant chains and stores, prompting an anti-gun backlash that drove many gun rights advocates into opposite corners.
The open carry issue was a major factor in the governor’s race, with both Abbot and Davis saying they’d legalize it if elected. Abbot has said the Second Amendment debate was about more than just gun rights.
“If the government begins to erode any of our liberties, they can erode all of our liberties,” he said in 2013 while he was attorney general.
In the Nov. 5 press conference, Abbot reaffirmed his stance on gun rights.
“If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas,” he said. “If an open-carry bill is passed by the House and Senate and arrives at my desk, I will sign it into law.”
Other leading issues Abbot discussed included border security, job growth, and improving the state’s schools.
Though Texas currently allows concealed handguns with a permit, there is strong support for “Constitutional Carry,” which does away with the permit requirement. It remains to be seen if Abbot will be so supportive of bills that abolish the need for permits to carry concealed.
Abbot, who has been in a wheelchair since a jogging accident in 1984, will be inaugurated in January.