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Carry responsibly

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A new law allowing Texans 21 and older to carry handguns without a state license or a permit doesn’t mean common sense should go out the window.

While the constitutional-carry law eliminates a background check, instruction and proficiency on the shooting range, gun owners should still avail themselves of a free, online safety course to be provided by the Department of Public Safety.

Texas joins 19 other states in approving open carry.

There are naysayers, of course, including police and domestic-violence experts who say open carry will only increase gun violence.

Still, there are safeguards to help ensure that wrongdoers don’t have legal access to a handgun including those convicted during the last five years of deadly conduct, a terroristic threat, an assault causing bodily harm or disorderly conduct.

Proponents, meanwhile, argue Texas legislators only affirmed what is already the law of the land  — the Second Amendment gives people the right to bear arms. Period.

But even if open carry is the law, those who tote a gun have a moral and ethical obligation to learn how and when to use it. Or, more important, when not to pull the trigger.

Carrying a pistol or a revolver shouldn’t be the fulfillment of some gunslinger fantasy. It’s serious business. Drawing and firing a weapon, even if it’s justified, can open one to criminal prosecution and costly civil liabilities.

Protecting your life and the lives of loved ones and innocents is understandable. But if you’re going to carry a gun, be responsible and get the proper training. This is 21st century Texas, not the OK Corral.

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