Larry Phillips

Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

The open carry of handguns state-wide is one step closer to being legal.

The Texas House gave initial approval to its version of the open carry bill, HB 910, on Friday. The Texas Senate approved its version of the bill in March. 

HB 910 would allow licensed handgun carriers to openly carry their guns in a holster. The open carry of long guns and rifles is already legal in the state. Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman), primary author of the bill, said he thinks the bill will expand Texans’ rights under the Second Amendment. 

“This bill goes too far for some and not far enough for others, but I think its a good start to show that we as Texans can be respectful and still protect ourselves,” Phillips said.

Representatives were set to debate the bill Tuesday, but Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) pointed out a technical error that postponed discussion. The error was resolved the same day.

Martinez Fischer and Rep. Borris Miles (D-Houston) brought up points of order Friday, but the points were overruled. One of Martinez Fischer’s points was in response to an amendment Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress) filed that would allow the concealed carry of handguns on college campuses.

“This amendment has to do with what a licensed holder may or may not do,” Fletcher said. “This is the campus protection amendment to campus carry and is acceptable to the author.”

Fletcher, who also authored the House’s campus carry bill, HB 937, ultimately withdrew the measure. Representatives are set to debate campus carry at a later date.

Two of the 18 proposed amendments to the bill were approved. One amendment rewords the phrase “nursing home” to “nursing facility” when referring to facilities where open carry is not allowed.

The other amendment lightens the penalty for openly carrying a gun in a location with the proper signage displayed to ban to prevent open carry. The penalty for disobeying the signage would change from a class A misdemeanor to a class C misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $200.

Additional reporting by Jackie Wang.

A Leander man is facing a felony charge after University of Texas police say he tried to sell a uniformed officer licensed UT apparel he had stolen from a nearby Walgreens pharmacy with the price tags still attached.

Larry Phillips, 41, was arrested Wednesday by UT police and charged with theft, a state jail felony punishable with 180 days to two years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000, according to an affidavit issued for his arrest that day. According to the document, Phillips approached a UTPD officer Wednesday around 1:00 p.m. at Domino’s Pizza, located at 1900 Guadalupe St., and tried to sell him a University of Texas football jersey for $10.00.

According to the affidavit, Phillips had two other jerseys and a UT T-shirt, all on hangers and all with Walgreens price tags attached. Phillips told the officer he had gotten the apparel from a friend. A University of Texas police officer went to the nearest Walgreens, located at 4501 Guadalupe St., and the store’s manager told him employees stopped Phillips from stealing a shirt from the store earlier that day. 

According to the affidavit, the manager of the store was able to scan the tags on the apparel Phillips had in his procession and determined they were property of the store. 

According to the affidavit, the value of the merchandise Phillips had was $91.96. He was also charged on an outstanding warrant he had for “Pedestrian in a Roadway” and has already been convicted of theft twice this year.

In regard to the incident, on the campus watch crime report issued by UTPD Officer Darrell Halstead Thursday, Halstead wrote, “Stay Out of Jail Tip: Never a good idea to offer to sell stolen property to a uniformed cop.”

Printed on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 as: Stolen Texas apparel leads to UTPD arrest