Tag Archives: concealed carry

Guns make us bite our tongue

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — A long time passed from when the Texas Legislature voted to allow open carry of firearms before I saw someone actually packing a pistol on his hip.

My wife and I were returning to Fairview today after spending some time in our RV in Amarillo when we walked into one of our favorite eating places in Wichita Falls. We wanted to grab a quick bite before heading on down the highway toward home.

A couple was disciplining a youngster a few tables away. The gentleman was particularly loud in seeking to get the boy to settle down. He has one of those annoying voices that we would have heard even if the eatery was packed wall to wall with customers.

I mentioned the grating sound of the guy’s voice to my wife, who then informed me, “Yes, and he’s carrying a gun, too.”

I shot a glance over my shoulder at the guy. Sure enough, there it was. In plain sight. Some kind of high-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Then it occurred to me: Just as concealed carry laws have made motor vehicle drivers a bit more circumspect with other drivers who cut them off in traffic — at least that’s my view — open carry laws damn sure would prevent someone from speaking out against someone who, um, is bellowing to a youngster.

I didn’t think of saying anything to this guy. But what if someone else on the other side of the table heard him and decided to confront him over the tone of voice he was using to calm the little boy down?

Having seen the firearm on this guy’s hip, I know I’d never say a word to the guy.

As for whether my wife and I will frequent this eating establishment in the future, that’s another matter altogether. I prefer to enjoy a meal in an establishment where guns are prohibited.

Packin’ heat becomes more fashionable, eh?

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has received a bill on her desk that she is likely to sign. I wish she wouldn’t. But that’s just me. She doesn’t care what a Texas resident thinks of the mistake her state’s legislature has just made.

The Oklahoma Legislature has approved a bill that allows Oklahomans to carry a gun without obtaining a permit or a license to do so. That’s right. If you’re able to strap a gun to your hip or tuck it into an ankle holster, just go right ahead.

No worries about whether you’re qualified to pack the heat.

Good grief, man! What’s going on here? The Amarillo Globe-News notes that Oklahoma would join several other states that allow folks to carry a weapon without a required license or permit. Texas isn’t one of them, as the Globe-News notes correctly.

But I prefer the Texas way of giving people permission to pack heat. They need to take a rudimentary class on firearm safety and then pass a simple test. Then they can obtain a permit from the state. The G-N seems to think that government shouldn’t be involved … to which I say, “Bull dookey!”

Read the G-N editorial here.

I have accepted the Texas system of allowing concealed carry permits, although I don’t endorse it. Yes, I know what the Second Amendment says about the “right to keep and bear arms.” The 1995 Texas Legislature approved the concealed-carry law and, yes, I was one of those who was concerned about a potential spike in gun violence.

A state, though, is not imposing an unreasonable or dictatorial restriction on gun ownership by requiring residents to pass a simple test after taking a simple course before they can pack heat; Texas also has an open-carry provision that allows folks to carry guns in full view — but only if they have a concealed carry permit.

I hope Gov. Fallin vetoes the gun bill that has arrived on her desk. I do not expect her to do so.

Sigh.

Let ’em allow guns anywhere

This editorial cartoon appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and it speaks to an interesting irony about those who believe “more guns will keep us safe.”

The Conservative Political Action Conference, the Republican National Convention and the White House all prohibit guns. That’s fine with me.

The cartoon, though, does remind me of something a former boss of mine once asked a prominent Republican Texas senator before the Texas Legislature enacted a law allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns.

The 1995 Legislature approved a concealed-carry bill, which Gov. George W. Bush signed into law. The Amarillo Globe-News, where I worked, opposed the legislation and we editorialized against it. The publisher of the paper at the time was Garet von Netzer, as conservative a fellow as anyone I’ve ever known. He didn’t like the concealed-carry bill.

I’ll never forget the time von Netzer asked the late Sen. Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, this question: “If you think it’s all right for people to carry guns under their jackets, why don’t you allow them to carry those guns onto the floor of the Legislature?” The Legislature chose then to ban guns inside the State Capitol Building.

I don’t recall Sen. Bivins’s answer.

Von Netzer’s question then seems totally appropriate today.

Still waiting to see guns on hips

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Texas became the latest state to allow residents to carry their guns in the open.

I’m going to make an admission that won’t surprise readers of this blog: I don’t like the new law. I dislike the idea of making loaded weapons more visible on our city streets, at the grocery store.

The law took effect on Aug. 1; the irony was rich, given that the effective date fell 50 years to the day after the gunman opened fire from the University of Texas Tower in Austin, killing 16 people.

I dislike the idea of requiring public colleges and universities to allow students to carry guns into the classroom.

No, I do not oppose the Second Amendment. I just happen to believe there are ways to restrict gun ownership while remaining faithful to the amendment.

All that said, I’m frankly surprised — and pleasantly so — that I haven’t seen anyone packing a gun on his or hip.

The open-carry law is restricted only to those who are licensed to carry weapons concealed. So, perhaps the concealed-carry licensees are still packing heat under their jackets or in their purses.

That suits me all right. What I cannot see doesn’t bother me as much as it would if I were to walk into a crowd with those who are showing off their guns.

I don’t expect this absence of guns in plain sight to continue.

I’m just grateful that, so far, I haven’t been forced to see them.

Campus-carry takes effect … very soon!

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Monday will be a big day in Texas.

Fifty years ago, a gunman climbed to the top of the Texas Tower at the University of Texas campus in Austin and opened fire with his high-powered rifle.

Sixteen people died that day before the cops got to the gunman and shot him dead .

Aug. 1, 1966 is one of the state’s most infamous days.

Texas is going to mark that date by allowing people to carry guns on college campuses.

Ironic, yes? Tragically so? Yes again.

It’s interesting to me — and to a lot of others — that educators oppose this notion. Only one private university is allowing guns on its campus; the rest of them have said “no thanks.” Public universities are required under the law to allow students to carry guns into classrooms.

UT Chancellor William McRaven — the former Navy SEAL and special forces commander — is one of those who opposes campus-carry. But, what the hey? What does he know?

I’ll stipulate that I have come to accept concealed-handgun-carry as a way of life in Texas. I don’t necessarily endorse it.

Allowing guns on campuses, though, does present a unique set of concerns. What if a professor hands out a failing grade to a student who, um, might have a short fuse that could be lit with a dose of bad news? Does that student then pose an extra threat to the prof if he’s packing heat under his jacket?

Well, Texas is about to enter another era on its college and university campuses.

I’m going to hope for the best.

If only the state could have picked another date to allow guns on our campuses.

Guns create better road manners?

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I cannot even begin to prove this, but the thought keeps occurring to me: Has Texas become a more polite motor-vehicle-driving society since the advent of concealed-carry laws?

More than 20 years ago, I opposed the idea of allowing Texans to carry handguns concealed under their jackets, or up their pants legs. My fear was that the guns would produced shoot-outs at four-way stops at intersections.

Happily, that hasn’t occurred.

The 1995 Texas Legislature enacted concealed-carry legislation and Texans have been toting firearms under their clothes.

Which brings me back to the question about road courtesy.

Is it possible the potential for the guns being in people’s cars prevented motorists from flipping each other off when they get cut off on the highway? Has it prevented those from rolling down their windows and yelling out four-letter words?

I know I am far less prone to give someone the finger these days than I was prior to the enactment of the concealed-carry law.

Open-carry laws are another matter.

Texas allows folks to pack weapons on their hips, in holsters, in plain sight.

The Dallas police shooting produced a serious dilemma for emergency responders reacting to the gun violence that erupted at the end of that march through downtown Dallas. Were the spectators who were packing heat in the open suspects in the hideous massacre? How do cops respond when they see someone with a rifle or a semi-automatic pistol?

I do not feel safer when I see someone carrying a weapon in the open.

As for the licensed Texans who are carrying guns concealed, well, I don’t necessarily endorse the idea. I’ve grown to accept it.

I also have learned to mind my manners at the wheel of my car.

Baylor joins universities to ban guns on campus

gunviolence

Another private institution of higher learning has made the correct call.

No guns will be allowed on our campus, according to the folks who run Baylor University.

Baylor President Ken Starr has announced that the school he leads won’t allow students or faculty to pack heat on the Waco campus.

It’s interesting to me that so many private schools have opted out of allowing open-carry of firearms. The law — which takes effect Aug. 1 — pertains to public colleges and universities, although the chancellor of the University of Texas System isn’t exactly a fan of open-carry legislation.

Baylor acts wisely

The private schools are lining up clearly against the law.

I understood the prevailing attitude among Texas legislators who voted to allow firearms to be carried openly in this state. I don’t have serious objection to the open carry law. I’m only a little bit queasy about it.

The college campus provision, though, does give me more serious pause.

The law allows Texans who are certified to carry concealed weapons to pack them in the open. Some foes of campus carry, though, have raised fair concerns: What about the student who gets a grade with which he or she disagrees — vehemently? Would that student react so badly as to do serious harm to the professor while carrying a firearm?

Baylor University has joined the list of private schools that have opted out of allowing guns to be carried openly on campus.

Good.