More than two decades ago, the 1995 Texas Legislature considered a concealed handgun carry bill. I opposed it with great passion.
The Legislature enacted it. Then-Gov. George W. Bush signed it into law. Over the years, I grew to accept the law, although I never have totally endorsed it.
But get a load of this: The Texas concealed handgun carry law did its job as it regards the Sutherland Springs shooter while the U.S. Air Force failed to do its job.
The loon who killed those 26 worshipers in Sutherland Springs was denied a concealed carry permit in Texas because of a criminal record check the state performed on him when he made his application.
Air Force misfires
But the U.S. Air Force, which sent him packing with a bad conduct discharge, didn’t tell the National Criminal Information Center about a court martial conviction in connection with an assault charge against his wife and her child. That failure to report enabled the shooter to purchase legally the rifle he used to massacre those First Baptist parishioners, including several children.
I’m not going to brag about Texas’s concealed carry law. I still am not a huge fan of it. Still, it hasn’t produced the kind of street-corner violence that many of us — including yours truly — feared would occur.
I am a bit heartened, though, that the state law worked. Texas denied this madman a permit to carry a gun under his jacket.
If only the Air Force had done its job, too.
Maybe it could have prevented this tragedy. Just maybe …
The Texas Railroad Commission is a misnamed panel that does important work for the state.
It no longer regulates railroads. It does regulate the Texas energy industry.
So it is with some anticipation that I read today that Railroad Commissioner David Porter won’t seek re-election next year to the three-member panel.
Patterson may run for RRC.
His decision is spurring some activity among Texas Republicans. One of them happens to be someone I happen to respect and admire very much.
He is Jerry “The Gun Guy” Patterson, the former Texas land commissioner and a one-time state senator from the Houston area.
Patterson is a proud Marine and Vietnam War veteran. He also has delightful self-deprecating sense of humor; he once told me he graduated in the “top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M.”
Patterson also was the author during the 1995 Texas Legislature of the state’s concealed-handgun-carry law. I opposed the law at the time, but my view on it has “evolved” over time. I am not an active supporter of the concealed-carry law; I just don’t oppose it.
Patterson did a great job running the General Land Office. He helped he GLO provide low-interest home loans for Texas military veterans.
I cannot speak to any expertise he might have on oil and gas issues. I do, though, respect him greatly as a dedicated public servant — and I hope he decides to get back in the game.
Barry Smitherman is the latest Texas politicians to state the obvious.
He’s all for the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one that guarantees Americans the right to own firearms.
My reaction to that? Duh!
Smitherman, a Republican, currently serves on the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that regulates the oil and natural gas industry in Texas. He wants to become the state’s next attorney general. Smitherman’s web ad proclaims his undying support for the Second Amendment.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, another Republican, recently posted a web ad that says the same thing as he seeks to become the state’s lieutenant governor.
I’m trying to look for the courage it took Smitherman to declare his support for gun owners. Texas isn’t a lot of other states. Gun ownership is virtually a given here. Our state’s popular culture practically requires people to own guns. Texas was among the first states to enact a concealed handgun carry law.
Barry Smitherman is a sophisticated individual. He stands a very good chance of being elected attorney general.
He cannot go wrong by declaring he supports Texans’ right to own guns. Put another way, Smitherman has exhibited a profound command of the obvious.
I don’t know Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson well, although I have interviewed him. I like what I’ve seen so far in person. He is an earnest and amiable fellow with a nice touch of self-deprecation. He once “boasted” of how he finished in the “top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M.”
He’s now running for the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor and has just released a minute-plus-long TV ad that touts his support for the Second Amendment, the provision that allows Americans to “keep and bear arms.”
Patterson is known as “The Gun Guy.” In 1995, as a state senator from Pasadena, Patterson authored and sponsored the state’s concealed handgun carry law. That is the crux of his TV ad.
I get that he is proud of the concealed carry law. I was one of those skeptics he talks about in the ad. I feared the kind of bloodbath he says opponents feared. They didn’t happen. I was wrong about the concealed carry law. Do I possess a permit? No. Thus, I don’t carry a gun.
I cannot help but wonder whether support for the Second Amendment is critical to the lieutenant governor’s race. Is this the kind of issue that will surface when the 2015 Legislature convenes? I doubt it. The Texas Senate is heavily Republican — just like Patterson — and won’t entertain seriously any effort to repeal the gun law of which the land commissioner is so proud.
So, what’s the point of the ad?