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Texas Starts 2016 With New Open Carry Gun Law

  • VOA News

FILE - Scott Smith, a supporter of open carry gun laws, wears pistol as he prepares for rally in support of open carry gun laws in Austin, Texas, Jan. 26, 2015.

FILE - Scott Smith, a supporter of open carry gun laws, wears pistol as he prepares for rally in support of open carry gun laws in Austin, Texas, Jan. 26, 2015.

The southwestern U.S. state of Texas on Friday celebrated its new law that allows people to openly carry handguns. The law allows licensed Texans for the first time since 1871 to carry a holstered pistol in public. The open carry law passed in the Republican-dominated 2015 legislative session.

Supporters of the new law rallied at the Texas State Capitol in Austin Friday with their holstered guns.

Texans who have passed a required safety course and have a concealed handgun permit can visibly carry their holstered weapons in public.

Supporters of the law say it will enhance public safety. Opponents say there is scant evidence open carry states are safer places to live.

More than 40 U.S. states have some form of an open carry law, but Texas is the most populous U.S. state allowing people to tote their guns into an array of businesses and public places.

The new Texas law comes amid what U.S. President Barack Obama described Friday in his weekly address as the country's "epidemic of gun violence." He said he will meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday to discuss the options available to him to stem the tide of violence.

Some information is from Reuters.

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