Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis officially broke from the Democratic party Thursday morning by announcing that she would support an "open carry" law in her state. If elected, she plans to expand, not limit, gun rights in Texas. The state senator became nationally famous for a 13-hour filibuster of a bill that would have put more restrictions on abortion, and many think she's way too liberal to be elected governor. But even Davis knows it's really hard to win in Texas if you don't let people have their guns.
In a statement to the AP, Davis made sure to add that background checks and training requirements would "help ensure that only mentally stable, law-abiding citizens may carry, whether concealed or open." But still, Davis has now taken the position that Texans with concealed handgun licenses should be able to wear visible pistols on their hips. That's not popular with Democratic Party leaders. Kellye Burke, who chairs Texas's Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told the AP that open carry "is meant to be a sign of intimidation. It's not about protection. ... I don't think people are aware of it. They just haven't seen it yet. People are completely shocked how strange and lawless it looks to have that kind of firepower in our daily life."
Conservatives have already called out Davis's announcement as a political move. The Texas State Rifle Association's spokeswoman called her an "opportunist." Davis's support of an open carry law aligns her with her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.
But this isn't her first move to expand gun rights — in April 2013, Davis voted to allow concealed carry of firearms in cars on college campuses. At the time, the Daily Caller accused her of "toeing a centrist line resembling Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia." More recently, Davis was presented with a shotgun (that was owned by the late former Gov. Ann Richards) at a Democratic fundraiser in Travis County.
So it remains to be seen whether or not Davis's support of open carry will help her in the election. She's still a longshot.