But now, Lavender said, several senators have expressed interest in backing the bill.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said it's time for this proposal to move forward.
"I support open carry by license holders. What better way to determine who standing around you is a good guy?" said Patterson, a former state senator who carried the legislation that legalized concealed handguns in Texas 18 years ago. "You know the person standing there with a gun on their hip has passed a background check, is up on their child support. ...
"One hundred years ago in Texas, honest men carried openly and only criminals carried concealed," he said. "It's interesting how in the last 25 to 30 years, open carry became bad."
The Legislature passed Texas' concealed handgun law in 1995. More than 585,000 Texans hold licenses, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Oklahoma legislators approved a bill last year letting anyone with a concealed handgun license display a firearm in a shoulder or belt holster as of Nov. 1.
The state has 146,262 residents licensed to carry handguns, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
In Oklahoma, as in Texas, the number of requests for concealed handgun licenses increased in 2009, the year Barack Obama was sworn in as president, and last year, when there were several mass shootings and Obama was re-elected, records from both states show.
Oklahoma officials say they are aware of no incidents since open carry took effect that caused the state bureau to suspend or revoke licenses.
"This enhances Oklahomans' ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights," state Sen. Anthony Sykes, a Republican, said after the bill passed.
"I think the evidence is clear that gun owners are some of the most responsible people, and they've shown that in not just Oklahoma, where we've had concealed carry for quite some time and there's never been an incident, but in these other states as well."
Hull was among those clamoring for open carry.
He said he knows that openly wearing a handgun can prevent crime.
One day at his wrecker service, where he regularly wears his gun in plain sight, several people came to his workplace after their friend's vehicle had been impounded.
They were bundled in bulky jackets on a summer day. After walking around -- and seeing the Ruger strapped to Hull's hip -- they quickly left.
"I never saw a weapon," he said. "But clearly they weren't coming to bring me a thank-you card."
Since the law took effect, Oklahoma City bank manager Justin Merrick said, he may have seen two people he doesn't know openly carrying handguns.
But he believes those numbers will grow.
Merrick said that when he's in public with his wife and 3-year-old daughter, his Browning Hi Power 9 mm draws curious looks.
"I get smiles, nods from across the room," said Merrick, 32, the secretary of the Oklahoma Open Carry Association. "People approach me and ask, 'How do you do that?' They don't know about the law."
Becoming a target?
Critics say they fear a rise in violent confrontations if Texas allows open carry.
Many say it isn't the right way to go because criminals will make anyone openly carrying a weapon their first target.
Hull said that's just not the case.
"Armies walking into battle don't conceal their firearms," he said.
He said he hasn't had to fire his weapon, but he did draw it once, when someone tried to mug him in his vehicle.
The mugger, he said, quickly ran off.
Hull said Texans should look at other states -- most of which allow open carry -- in considering legislation this year.
"Unless the state has a very compelling reason, the state should allow law-abiding citizens to do exactly what they are asking to do," he said.
Even if Texas does someday allow open carry, not everyone who carries a weapon plans to exercise that right.
Curtis Van Liew, 49, a concealed handgun license instructor who lives in Watauga, favors the law.
"I love it. The more guns people see on people, the less likely they are to do something. But anyone who walks out of their door with their gun on puts a bull's-eye on their chest," he said. "If there's a crime at a restaurant, they are going to be the first one taken out."
Because of that, Van Liew said, he would continue to keep his handgun concealed.
"It gives me the element of surprise," he said.