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Dan Patrick Defends Open Carry, Pledges Fewer Gun Regulations on 'Meet the Press'

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Screenshot via NBC News
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appeared on "Meet the Press" yesterday to discuss the state's newly-enacted open carry law.

Texas made plenty of national headlines in the New Year, as it became the largest state in the U.S. to allow citizens to openly carry handguns. On Sunday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick went on national television to defend the new law, and point towards further loosening of gun regulations.

Patrick's appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press" let him push two messages. First, he tried to dispel any arguments that open carry in Texas – and in general – makes society less safe. He pointed to stats on gun safety, crime rates and gun ownership that he says show people are safer when guns are around. He also told NBC’s Chuck Todd he doesn’t expect open carry in Texas to lead to more gun violence.

“Forty-four states, Chuck, already have open carry,” Patrick told Todd. “Michigan’s had it for 175 years. Vermont’s always had it. We have not seen these problems.”

Patrick’s second message: He’s ready to make it even easier to own and carry a gun in Texas.

“I want to see a day when every American citizen can simply have a gun, does not have to go through a long ordeal or pay a high price,” Patrick said. “We’re going to address that in Texas as well, because it’s the right of every individual under the Second Amendment.”

The Texas Legislature doesn’t meet again until 2017, but he’s already assigned the Senate State Affairs Committee the task of monitoring implementation of the state’s new open carry and campus carry laws – asking lawmakers to watch for ways to improve the new laws moving forward. The campus carry law, which will allow anyone with a license to carry to have a concealed handgun on public college and university campuses, goes into effect in August.

Towards the end of Patrick’s appearance on the Sunday show, he argued that states with open carry or concealed carry laws have experienced a 25 percent drop in crime, citing an unnamed study. That claim caught the eye of PolitiFact, which determined Patrick was most likely citing a study from the economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, a pro-gun group, and ranked the claim as “Mostly False.” PolitiFact found Lott’s study analyzed the number of concealed carry permits and the rate of violent crime from 2007 to 2014 and pointed out that the datasets were separate and the conclusion implies correlation, not causation.

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