Few things are closer to the hearts of most Texans than guns and rodeos. But, like heifers and bulls, sometimes they're best kept separate.
Yesterday, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced it will be prohibiting people from carrying handguns at the event, so any attendees who may have hoped to experience an NRA-infused John Wayne-gasm will have to pack a few six-shooters lighter.
Given the controversy surrounding the state's relatively new open carry law, which forced private businesses to openly ban or allow guns on their property and challenged the legality of gun-free zones in government buildings and on public college campuses, the largest rodeo entertainment show in the world's gun policy was likely on many a highfalutin' rootin' shootin' cowboy's mind.
Joel Cowley, president and chief executive officer of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, told the Houston Chronicle yesterday that some people were concerned the event would allow open carry, and were waiting for the rodeo to clarify its gun policy before buying tickets.
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“It’s our goal to promote a family-friendly atmosphere,” Cowley told the Chron. “We don’t think the private carry of handguns is conducive to that.”
Cowley told the Chron that he had not yet been approached by any open carry advocates complaining about the rodeo's gun ban. That could be because this isn't a particularly new development. According to the Chron, the event prohibited concealed carry last year, too.
The move makes sense. On average, the rodeo draws around 2.5 million people per year, and a lot of them buy alcohol, plus there are kids and calves and yearlings and actual human children running around all over the place. Removing guns from the mix makes the Wild West feel just a little more tame.
But if you're at the rodeo and find yourself fixin' for some guns, just head over to the Cowboy Mounted Shooting show, where cowboys celebrate the Second Amendment on horseback by shooting blanks at unarmed balloons helplessly propped up on poles.