Division amongst Katy council members sees resolution regarding open carry

- The City of Katy moves from no carry in 2015, to open carry in 2016, at public meetings. The state's new open carry law prompted a discussion and the decision, but there was division among the council members.

Councilman Gary Jones is a 2nd Amendment advocate, who wanted to drop the concealed carry restriction left over from last year.

"We're not posting a notice," Jones tells Fox 26. "You're able to carry concealed, or open carry, provided you're licensed."

Councilman James Mendez strongly agreed.

"When we got into office we swore to uphold the Constitution," Mendez says. "The right to bear arms shall not be infringed upon. It's stated clearly."

But Mayor Pro-tem Chuck Brawner is Chief of Police at Spring Branch ISD, and he had concerns.

"Police officers, especially the ones with as many years as I've been in law enforcement, always think of possible... not negative, but potential issues that could come up," Brawner says.

Brawner had two main areas of concern. First, the state's open carry law does not require a special holster to secure the handgun, and, second, that other citizens attending Katy City Council meetings would feel uncomfortable seeing people carrying a weapon.

The issue was going to come to a public debate at the next meeting, but Monday, that agenda item was suddenly dropped.

"We hashed it out. Talked about it," Jones says. "They did research. I did research."

Ultimately, Brawner softened his stance. He acknowledged he's seen very few citizens carrying weapons openly, and says so far there have been no issues. But he agreed that this decision is something Katy citizens should be aware of.

"Anything that we do, I believe in transparency," Brawner says. "We'll just see how it goes. I really believe it will be okay."

Katy's Mayor, Fabol Hughes, agrees with the decision to allow open carry at the meetings.

Will the subject come up at the next council meeting? Only if residents want to talk about it in the open forum part of the meeting.

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