For many people, that fear is not at all irrational. The latest FBI data shows that firearms are responsible for 69 percent of homicides in the United States. But in America, the gun debate goes further than statistics. The conversation about gun rights in this country cannot escape the dark shadow of the horrific mass murders that happened in places like Aurora and Sandy Hook.
Grisham said he still battles PTSD, including the memories of the seven people he says he killed in combat.
“I can literally picture every single person I had to shoot at, and I can picture exactly how that person fell, how that person limped off, or tried to get away,” he said.
But when asked about the mental health aspect of the gun control argument, Grisham said the issue posed a “very dynamic and broad question.”
“We have to be careful not to paint with a broad brush,” he said. “The way to deal with a mentally disturbed person with a gun is a sane person with a gun.”
Of course, gun control advocates strongly disagree, and Open Carry Texas is at the center of a massive petition movement led by a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“The thing that people have to remember about the open carry of long guns in Texas specifically is that there’s no background check required, there’s no training required, and there’s no licensing required. So anyone can be walking around with one of these long guns, and they carry them around loaded,” said Carolyn, an ambassador for the Moms Demand Action group.
Carolyn, who asked that her last name not be used, is part of the movement pressuring chains like Target and Home Depot to ban open carry in their stores.
“The companies need to do the right thing and they need to provide a safe environment for their consumers,” she said.
As for Grisham, he says the open carry movement is growing in support each day, and spreading to other states.
“Well I don’t think this struggle ever ends. As long as there are people who don’t think law-abiding citizens should have guns,” he said. “This is going to be a struggle that’s going to go on forever.”