Etiquette lacking in gun debate

revolverand bullets

The recent Legislature expanded the times and places Texans can be armed. In the near future, all persons with a concealed gun permit will be authorized to openly display their weapons almost anywhere in the state of Texas. The process for receiving gun permits in Texas pretty well educates the would-be license holder on the circumstances that allow for use of one’s weapon. 

Clearly, with Texans and their affinity for guns, there is one area sorely lacking when it comes to possession and the carrying of guns. We are in need of the equivalent of Emily Post, a writer on social etiquette, when dealing with the open carry of our weapons. Many of us are certainly in a quandary about protocol and manners when it comes to when, where and how we should wear our weapons or have them on open display.

Just for example, I seriously thought about acquiring a double holster, two-gun set to display my pearl handled revolvers, much the way Hop-Along Cassidy did in the old movies I used to go see. One of my friends, however, declared such behavior would be gauche and would be much like wearing a tuxedo to a baseball game. In other words, he opined, I would be grossly overdressed to wear such a rig.

Should some expert advertise himself or herself as an expert on such gun toting politeness, we could submit all sorts of questions for review and advice. For example, I am certain college professors would like to know whether or not it would be proper gun etiquette when teaching their class to place their Glock in open sight on the desk as they begin their lecture. We all know one of the principal arguments for open carry is that it makes us all safer, and we should be ready if and when some lunatic bursts into a classroom on a college campus and proceeds to send the students to their heavenly reward. I am certain that, while many professors know how to fire their weapon with some accuracy, few if any of them know the art of the quick draw.

I would even submit a question concerning the proper behavior while wearing my .380 Llama in a side holster while dining at a fine restaurant. My question would be that if some person unknown to me entered the restaurant carrying his AR 15 with an extended magazine, should I pull my handgun and have it on the ready, or would that seem impolite, unacceptable gun carrying behavior?

The law has raised another question for me. Heretofore, it seems to be unlawful with only a concealed gun permit to display the weapon. I was told in training that it would be a violation of the law to pull my weapon out unless it was a circumstance in which I intended to use it. My question for the gun-behavior adviser and expert now concerns behavior while driving in Houston. Currently, when a rude driver almost hits you, cuts you off or races in front of you, the best you can do is a one-finger salute. In view of the fact that it is now lawful in Texas to openly display your weapons, would it be OK when encountering a rude driver to simply pull out your .44 Magnum and waive it out the window rather than giving the traditional sign of protest concerning rude behavior on the parkway?

It seems to me becoming an expert in polite behavior concerning open carrying of weapons would be a great avocation and maybe even profitable for some expert who cared to write such a column for the newspaper. Sadly, though, I fear this idea of mine will go the way of several of my other ideas such as offering CAT-scan services in connection with gaining access to airplanes so that you could look out for your medical problems at the same time you are enduring security checks to get on an airplane.


Carl Parker has practiced law in Port Arthur since 1958. He is a 1958 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and the Senate in 1976, Parker continued to practice law while writing and sponsoring hundreds of bills that became laws relating to every aspect of life in Texas, including many regarding consumer safety. His e-mail is cap1934 [at] aol [dot] com.