Group pushes Texas lawmakers for open-carry gun law | News for Austin, Texas | KVUE.com | Top Stories [SIZE=+2]Group pushes Texas lawmakers for open-carry gun law [/SIZE] [SIZE=-1]06:25 PM CST on Monday, December 1, 2008 [/SIZE] [SIZE=-1]By JESSICA VESS KVUE News[/SIZE] You may be used to guns on the range, but are you ready for guns on the hip? According to online at opencarry.org , nearly 33,000 Texans have said "yes." "It's called a Constitutional right -- not a privilege,” said Ian McCarthy, founder of the Texas open carry petition. Each computerized signature on the petition is a sign of support for an open carry handgun policy in the state in which gun owners would be allowed to carry their weapons in plain sight. The petition is non-binding, and right now it has no sponsor in the Legislature. "We shouldn't have to ask the state for permission to exercise that right," said McCarthy. "I whole-heartedly support it; there's absolutely nothing wrong with that," said Lawrence Taylor, supporter of an open carry handgun law. Despite public support, any change in gun laws will be up to the Texas Legislature. State lawmakers are not in session right now; however, representatives with opencarry.org say they have spoken with some who say they will push the green button -- voting yes. Governor Rick Perry says he supports an open carry policy, but some law enforcement officials don't agree. "It's extremely dangerous for the officers, it's dangerous for the citizens," said President of the Austin Police Association Lt. George Vanderhule. On Tuesday, opencarry.org will launch a series of radio commercial ads dubbed Operation Lone Star Thunder. “We believe that law abiding Texans should be free to exercise their rights,” said the commercial. Opencarry.org hopes the message will change the minds of opponents. Advertisements will also hit the road. Austin Cab Company will have about a dozen taxis with posters supporting the policy change. Texas is just one of six states that do not have an open carry gun law at all. Most other states have an open-carry law. Some of the states don’t even require gun owners to get a license. "I don't like it because I don't like guns at all, I think they're dangerous," said Esther Vanhout, opponent. According to the FBI violent crimes across the nation, including states with open carry laws has gone down over the past year, but those who oppose open-carry fear the law increases accidental shootings. Statistics for those shootings are not available. For now, a formal open carry bill is not posted to go before the Legislature in its next session, but sources say there is a bill being drafted that should be ready by January.