Houston Newsmakers Jan. 10: Texas open carry law

HOUSTON – Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen is one of the special guests on this week's "Houston Newsmakers" with Khambrel Marshall.

He joins Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union and Major Chad Norvell of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office. The topic focuses on the state's new open carry law that went into effect Jan. 1.

Law enforcement officers in some parts of Texas have shown concern about how to approach an unfolding crime scene where many people are displaying firearms. There's a concern it could cause confusion in an active shooter situation.

"We are going to take the necessary precautions to ensure our officers are safe and ensure the crime scenes are maintained properly. So we are going to treat everybody there the same way approaching a crime scene," Rosen said.

From day one, businesses and gun owners have made it clear where they stand on open carry. Some have found themselves caught in the middle of the open carry debate.

"I really don't see it as being a huge impact. I'm sure it will make some impact for smaller businesses. I heard a talk show host the other day say, take two of your best customers and see what they think about it and kind of poll people coming to your location," Hunt said. 

Norvell believes open carry advocates should respect a business' right to not have weapons in their establishment.

"Some of them have said they won't go to those businesses anymore. They are almost angry at businesses for prohibiting it," Norvell said.

One week ago, Harris County lost a big part of the fabric of our community. Harris County Commissioner Precinct One El Franco Lee died of a heart attack. He was 66 years old. Lee began his political career in 1979 when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In 1985 he was elected and sworn in as the first African-American Harris County Commissioner. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett talked about the late commissioner's life and legacy.

"Years from now, we will still be finding things that we'll look at and say oh Franco did that. Whether it's a little park or a little improvement or whether it was some program he was involved in. He had his finger in everything in Harris County," Emmett said.

Watch Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall every Sunday morning at 10 a.m., right after "Meet the Press," on KPRC 2. 

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