The upcoming battle concerning competing open carry bills could easily result in a fireworks demonstration this year. Texas is facing some major changes that are not going to easily pass opponents in 2015.

According to Michael Cargill, a Central Texas Gun Works owner and instructor, “The current law in the state of Texas [requires] you have to take a class [i]t’s four to six hours. You also have to pass a background check. You can have no felony convictions, no class A or B misdemeanor convictions in the last five years.”

Texas state law permits long arms, which includes shotguns and rifles, to be openly carried in Texas, but handguns are subject to requirements that are more stringent. Handguns must be licensed and concealed or they do not legally comply with current requirements. However, gun rights activists are attempting to change this option, allowing handguns to remain holstered, but visible. Supporters believe this open carry style would have a significant effect on criminal activity.

Bills proposed during legislative sessions show that, “An openly carried weapon is no more dangerous than one carried in a concealed manner. Indeed, it is those with bad intent who are most likely to prefer to conceal weapons on their person. Anyone wishing to use a firearm as a deterrent and, in the last resort, for self-defense, would prefer to openly display the weapon.”

Shockingly enough, Texas is one of approximately seven states that do not permit open carry. As a conservative state, this shocks many people, especially considering liberal Massachusetts and Washington State even allow legal concealed carry. For people that are looking to carry firearms as deterrents and for self-defense purposes, openly carrying weapons is the most effect form for avoiding crime.

This year’s 84th Texas Legislature will spend a considerable amount of time taking into consideration two very different versions of proposed gun laws. House Bill 106, proposed by Representative Dan Flynn (R-Canton) would help to further expand the CHL police, allowing license holders to choose to carry handguns in either open or concealed settings. In contrast, House Bill 195, proposed by State Representative Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) would either permit “constitutional carry,” which allows legally purchased guns to be carried in concealed or open circumstances.

Only this year will tell what Texas’ future holds about concealed carry rights for gun owners.

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