City talks Open Carry, elections

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The Port Isabel City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to prohibit the open carry of handguns during City meetings.

The Commission deliberated the issue in the wake of state legislation which went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year which allows for the open carry of handguns. The law requires that handgun owners have a conceal carry license (CCL) in order to carry openly. Under the law, open carry can be prohibited by the placement of very specific signage. But, as City Manager Jared Hockema explained to the Commission, public entities cannot prohibit the carry of a firearm entirely.

“If you were to pass this resolution, we would prohibit them, but only during meetings,” Hockema stressed. He added that residents have shared concerns about feeling unsafe.

For Hockema, however, one pressing concern is a provision within the law that makes it difficult for law enforcement officers to determine whether or not a person is a licensed carrier.

“You know that the law says you have to be licensed to wear it,” Hockema said to a resident who asked about the law. “But, there’s no way for us to ask them,” he said.

“The problem is the officers don’t have a mechanism to (ask),” Hockema said.

“Is there anyone in the audience that is not receptive to this?” asked Mayor Pro tem Martin C. Cantu.

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