The Second Amendment gave United States citizens the right to own guns in 1791 but states across the country are still trying to interpret the law and apply it to their residents. Texas is no exception. After having concealed carry laws for a number of years, the state is now open carry. With this recent change came a lot of confusion. Although Waco residents understand the restrictions on concealed carry, open carry laws are much more confusing. Campuses and businesses may be allowed to restrict the ability of licensed gun owners to bring their loaded handguns on the premises. Overall, concealed carry holders commit less crime than the general population. The most common reason concealed carry license holders lose their certification is due to DUI. Because DUI is a serious offense and carry a handgun while intoxicated is just not a good idea, driving under the influence is ill advised while carrying. In general, having people around who are legal gun owners makes the entire area safer — as long as they haven’t been drinking. The laws that went into effect in January 2016 caused a lot of confusion for the law abiding citizens of Waco. No longer were people sure where they were able to go with their guns and if they needed to conceal them in some places but not others. You are still not allowed to carry in gun-free zones, such as courtrooms, schools and certain areas of airports. However, the confusion lies in which businesses a license holder can go in with their weapon. According to the law, business must post a sign if they ban handguns on their premises. While having other people around with handguns to deter crime is an effective way to stay safe outside of your home, you won’t have those other people when you are at home and it doesn’t make sense to walk around your house with a handgun on your hip. If you don’t currently feel secure in your home, you might want to consider installing an alarm system. Having something like this in place will alert you if someone tries to get in your house while you are sleeping and give you enough warning to be able to protect your family. It’s important to not take the security system for granted. Although the mere presence of a yard sign and stickers on the window might deter crime, the system isn’t truly effective unless it is armed. Some people feel like arming their system is an inconvenience but there is no way for the monitoring company to know if your doors or windows have been compromised while you are sleeping if you don’t turn on your system. Just remember, you pay this company every month to secure your home. Get the most out of your investment and keep it turned on. A large number of Waco residents own guns but there are many people who don’t feel comfortable carrying a handgun. They might own a rifle but not want to walk around in public with a loaded weapon. This is why the concealed carry and open carry laws are so important. Criminals just don’t know who has a gun now and who doesn’t so they are less likely to take a risk when there isn’t a guarantee of a reward for them. Far too many crimes have been thwarted by legal carry holders who used their personal weapon to protect the people around them. There are a few reasons why the open carry laws are so controversial. When citizens are walking down the street with guns in plain view, it’s hard for law enforcement officers to tell the criminals from the law-abiding citizens. This can lead to more people being asked to show their license. Some people are uncomfortable seeing open carried handguns and although they know there might be people carrying in the same venue where they are, they’d rather the guns be concealed. Others, including some gun violence survivors, are afraid of handguns. They may have PTSD and be traumatized by the sight of a gun. Texans as a whole love guns though and most people aren’t noticing that much has changed since this law has become effective. As far as schools are concerned, it remains illegal to carry guns on elementary or high school campuses, whether they are concealed or out in the open. However, colleges may now allow students to carry concealed but not open. Each college and university is permitted to choose whether they want to allow handguns on their campuses. Some schools have opted out but others in Texas are proud to allow their students to protect themselves at school. With all the shootings on colleges campuses around the country, it only makes sense that students over the age of 21 who have clean records would want a way to potentially protect themselves and their fellow students from an attack at their school. Handguns protect people in public and home security systems protect them while they are sleeping at home. The world just isn’t the same as it was a generation ago and people need to take advantage of everything available to them so they can protect themselves and their loved ones. Everyone won’t feel comfortable carrying a gun and that’s okay because there are enough people in Waco who have guns to protect the rest. You’ll be safe around them in public and when you go home at night and arm your alarm system, you’ll be safe from crime there too.