SMITH COUNTY — The East Texas State Fair will not allow open carry guns this year, according to fair president John Sykes.
"We really want everyone to understand that safety and security at this event is for most on our mind and has been for many many years," Sykes said. "We as an entity do have the right to prevent open carry."
While Sykes says they do reserve the right to prevent concealed carry, fairgoers may carry guns concealed as long as they have a CCW.
"I’ve learned that maybe we are violating the rights of others too much when you already have a license to carry concealed," Sykes said. "So we have decided to go ahead and allow that to happen."
Sykes says security will be checking licenses and will also be looking to see if a weapon becomes exposed. If someone violates the open carry policy, they will be escorted from the property.
Sykes says security and police are expected to be the first line of defense if an incident should happen. However, the fair 'trusts' those with concealed carry licenses should anything happen.