2nd Amendment expert James B. Towle weighs pros and cons of legislation
Newly elected Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed into law the Open Carry Act, formerly known as House Bill 910, shortly after the Texas House of Representatives gave its final approval to the legislation that would allow licensed gun owners to carry handguns openly on a shoulder or hip holster; carrying rifles and shotguns openly is already legal in this state. As the law prepares to go into effect on January 1, 2016, safety and protection expert – and 2nd Amendment advocate – James B. Towle discussed the ramifications.
“The end of the 140-year ban on handguns brought Texas out of being one of only six states that outlawed open carry,” said Towle, who founded American Trigger Sports Network and is host and executive producer of the ATSN television show Stop The Threat. He has been in the Security and Law Enforcement community for 25 years and presently maintains his license as a Private Investigator. He augmented the Secret Service on President Reagan’s Ranch in California before becoming President of the Sheriff’s Council prior to entering radio and TV.
Towle notes the positive impact of the decision, noting that a 2013 Texas Department of Public Safety study found only 0.3 percent of convicted crimes were committed by those holding a Concealed Handgun License (CHL), and the 44 other states that allow open carry didn’t exhibit increases in gun crimes when their own laws went into effect. “Licensed gun owners commit firearms violations at a very low rate, and I find it nearly impossible to believe that allowing them to carry openly will create any ‘guns-blazing’ dangers for law-abiding citizens.”
Though recognizing the benefits of the law, Towle recommends caution and discretion to licensed gun owners who opt to carry openly. “Too often, an unsecured or under-secured weapon can be forcibly taken from the owner and potentially used against him,” he said. “The main purpose of open carry is to show an overt display of force or self-protection, not to go looking for a fight or try to be a hero and insert yourself into a situation you ordinarily wouldn’t.” Towle likens this scenario to those individuals who legally carry rifles in public places that ordinarily don’t need – or desire – such open displays of firepower. “Just because you legally can walk into a Starbuck’s with a rifle slung over your shoulder, doesn’t necessarily mean you should,” he said.
Towle additionally cautions “open-carriers” that a display of force is not always optimal. “True, by openly carrying, you can discourage many potential attacks. However, by displaying a weapon, you are letting the bad guys know that you yourself are a potential threat to them, and you could conceivably end up painting an additional target on yourself. Discretion is always key.”
Beginning its seventh season, Stop The Threat presents reenactments of crimes then discusses scenarios and outcomes with a panel of experts. Since the show’s initial inception in 2008, an estimated 5 million viewers have tuned in to learn “best response” skills and techniques from professionals, and how to defend themselves, their families and their property if targeted by assailants.
Stop The Threat airs Wednesday night on The Hunt Channel at 8:00PM central time (Dish Network 266) and Friday night on Pursuit Channel at 8:00 p.m., central time (DirecTV Channel 604/Dish network 393). For more information on Stop The Threat or James B. Towle, please visit www.StoptheThreat.tv.