Temple, TX — We've heard the saying "if you don't use it, you lose it", and, that's certainly what one Central Texas group believes could happen if they don't exercise their second amendment constitutional right.
"An armed society is a polite society," says Open Carry Texas spokeswoman Victoria Montgomery.
Montgomery is one of hundreds of Texans who strongly supports open carry. She says by wearing her rifle proudly, she's helping to educate the community about guns, in hopes of erasing fears. So, she and other open carry members travel around town with their guns strapped to their backs.
"If we run into a business that doesn't like us being there because they think maybe we're driving away patrons or anything, we will peacefully and calmly leave. And, we typically ask permission before we enter," said Montgomery.
Montgomery says open carry support has been tremendous, with many people connecting through Facebook and the web.
"We've had hundreds and hundreds of members join. We're over one thousand, two thousand members in just a few short months," said Montgomery.
In the state of Texas, it's legal to carry a rifle or a shotgun in public. And, with the rise in mass shootings across the country, gun advocates say it's necessary for the "good guys" to be armed.
"Some people will say, 'Why do you need a weapon at all?' Well, the bad people have weapons. If you outlaw weapons, only outlaws will have weapons," said Open Carry Texas member Michael Montgomery.
Open Carry Texas members hope by peacefully carrying rifles, they can convince lawmakers to allow open carry of pistols during the next legislative session.
"A right not exercised is a right that's soon to be lost," said Michael Montgomery.
Until then, they'll keep going around town, educating the public.