Sunday, November 30, 2008

On Packing Heat in Texas

Now you may have already heard somewhere that I’m not from around here. I’m from the state that, in the very same year, granted the right to same-sex marriage by virtue of a state Supreme Court decision, and then had a majority of its population revoke that right.

I’m originally from California.

California, it seems has a love-hate relationship with marriage rights. In a state that is widely regarded for its liberal social standards, I am sometimes startled at some of the very backward thinking that goes on there from time to time.

So what is the first thing that you think of when it comes to gun ownership rights in Texas? Yes, me too. Texas has a worldwide reputation for being not only a gun-loving state, but occasionally a gun-shooting state.

Texans love guns and low taxes. In that order.

So imagine my shock and surprise when I come to find out that Texas is one of only six states in the country that has laws on its books that specifically forbids the wearing of handguns out in the open.

It is legal, in Texas, to carry a concealed weapon on your person. You need a permit, but one thing that George W. Bush did for Texas gun owners as governor was to sign a concealed weapon bill into law.

Yes, before George W. Bush was governor, it was illegal in Texas for most people to carry a weapon on their person, concealed or not.

And the law is still on the books that specifically forbids your average person to “open carry” a handgun. Yes, here in wild and wooly Texas, where we have the Castle Law that gives a person the right to use shoot first and ask questions later when someone is trying to enter your dwelling, you can’t wear a handgun in plain sight.

And wouldn’t you know it; the law comes out of Reconstruction. The law forbidding the open carrying of a gun outside of your own property line was one of a series of Jim Crow Laws passed in 1870, and this one was meant to keep guns out of the hands of former slaves.

I find this to be absolutely fascinating.

And now we have a group of outside agitators coming to Texas to change this law. Their website is here.

From UPI:

“ co-founder Mike Stollenwerk said supporters of the proposed state law have begun targeting both state residents and lawmakers in attempt to get the state Legislature to pass the bill in January, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram said Sunday.”

“‘We are targeting Texas,’ Stollenwerk said. ‘Texas is probably the most pro-gun state, but doesn't have open-carry laws.’”

It came as some surprise to me that Texas is one of 6 states that forbid the wearing of a handgun: four other southern states, Texas, and New York. It is permitted everywhere else they say. So this group is concentrating on gun-loving Texas so that Texans can take their handguns out of their closets and nightstand drawers and put them onto their gunbelts where they rightly belong.

So while Californians concentrate on revoking the marital rights of their gay and lesbian neighbors, Texans concentrate on getting their state’s law changed that will bring guns out of the closet and into the streets.

I can’t figure out which is crazier.


Anonymous said...

It's not so much, in my mind, that the effort is to grant the ability to wave your gun around. As the law stands now, if you have a concealed weapon on your person, and bend over, or reach into your pocket, or do anything else that would accidentally flash your gun, you are now in violation of the law. In an open carry state, that wouldn't be a problem.

Hal said...

While I agree that an open carry law would make things easier on people with a concealed weapons permit, but suffer an oopsie, the full intent of this open carry group is clear. Go to the website and play the video of the young mother who chooses to wear her Glauck 9 on her waist . . . to her childrens' soccer games. It created quite a furor that ended up with the county sheriff revoking the woman's concealed weapon permit. Now the only way she can carry her gun is on her belt. Go figure.