Tag Archives: Concealed handgun carry

Guns have their place; still not sure it’s in church

There once was a time when I opposed concealed handgun carry legislation in Texas. My fear at the time was that there might be shootouts at traffic intersections between motorists who would turn fender-benders into something quite different.

Those fears have not materialized. I have recognized the absence of such roadside mayhem. I also have acknowledged my acceptance of concealed carry permits in Texas, if not an outright endorsement of them.

Does that carry over to allowing firearms in houses of worship? Yes, we had a shootout in a church in White Settlement today. The gunman killed a parishioner and seriously wounded another one before churchgoers returned fire and killed the bad guy.

One relatively successful incident involving firearms in churches does not, in my mind, make for a successful policy. I still fear the consequence of a pistol-packing worshiper opening fire in response to a gunman and missing the target badly, resulting in collateral casualties.

Plus, there just is something bizarre and unholy about allowing worshipers to bring loaded firearms with them while they take communion and say their prayers to God.

The day might come when I’ll accept the notion of guns in the church pew. Just not yet.

In the meantime, I’ll pray that the White Settlement churchgoer recovers from the wound inflicted. I also will express my gratitude from some distance that the parishioners who took out the gunman knew what to do when the gunfire erupted.

Shooting incident turns out OK, however …

Does a single shooting involving a gunman who was shot dead by those with handgun permits make me believe that it’s OK to allow guns into houses of worship?

No it doesn’t. However, it does give me pause to offer a word of gratitude that church congregants had the presence of mind to end a spasm of gun violence quickly before it could get much worse.

A shooter opened fire this morning in a church at White Settlement, Texas, a Fort Worth suburb. He shot two people in the church, one of whom died; the other suffers from life-threatening injuries.

Then some worshipers who happened to be carrying weapons opened fire on the gunman, killing him on the spot.

Texas legislators recently approved a law that allows concealed handguns in houses of worship. Only those who are licensed to carry them will be allowed to pack the weapons while worshiping.

I am not yet persuaded that this is a good idea. However, I certainly am grateful that the bystanders who were in the church sanctuary had the skill to end the nightmare quickly. Such relatively good fortune — and I use that term with extreme caution — isn’t necessarily a guarantee that future incidents will produce similar results.

White City Police Chief J.P. Bevering called the congregants who killed the gunman “heroic.” Yes, they most surely are. The rest of the congregation at West Freeway Church of Christ owe them an eternal debt of thanks.

Anyone with a smart phone can be a ‘journalist’

A CVS pharmacy store manager is being investigated for questioning the authenticity of an African-American customer’s coupon.

A clown who berated a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt, claiming that Puerto Ricans aren’t “Americans” has been charged with a hate crime.

A guy called the cops because a black woman was swimming in a public pool.

What do these incidents have in common? They all were recorded by people with “smart phones,” the devices that also serve as cameras/recording devices.

Dear reader, this is one of the many outcomes of social media and therein lies a valuable lesson that still gets lost on too many people.

Ignoramuses who choose to mistreat their fellow human beings do so at great peril. We live in a society where there is no escape. There’s virtually no way to avoid being recorded doing something stupid.

Man, we need to be on our best behavior at all times. It’s a similar circumstance that confronts those of us who live in states that allow folks to carry weapons concealed under their clothing. We in Texas should be acutely aware of the danger of flipping off a fellow motorist. I never have been prone to do such a thing. I damn sure won’t do it now that I live in a state where the guy I might flip off could empty a pistol at me.

So it is with these ubiquitous cameras.

The lesson as I understand it crystal clear. Do not mistreat anyone because someone is likely watching — and recording — your every move.

Besides, such mistreatment simply is intolerable even without the existence of smart phones.

Governor stands for safer gun rules


Now that we’ve re-entered the realm of gun violence, gun safety and gun regulations in the wake of the Orlando, Fla., massacre, I want to applaud a Missouri politician for retaining some sanity in this discussion.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed a bill that landed on his desk that would have allowed residents to carry concealed weapons without obtaining a permit to do so.

That’s right. The bill would have removed the requirement for Missouri residents to take classes, obtain a permit and submit themselves to a criminal background check.

Nixon said the bill would make his state less safe. Gee, do you think?


A number of states have enacted concealed carry legislation over the years. Texas was among the first to do so. My own initial objections to enactment of the law have given way to acceptance of the law in Texas, if not an outright embrace of it.

Many Texans have sought and obtained these permits only to be able to carry a firearm if they choose to do so.

The regulations in Missouri mirror those in Texas. They are reasonable and prudent. Indeed, state and local police officials opposed the weakening of the restrictions there.

According to the Kansas City Star: “I cannot support the extreme step of … eliminating sensible protections like background checks and training requirements, and taking away the ability of sheriffs to protect their communities,” Nixon said.

Gov. Nixon’s veto faces the threat of a legislative override in September. It is my hope the veto withstands an effort to throw out common sense regulations.

Get ready for open carry

open carry

SAN MARCOS, Texas — I’m sitting inside our fifth wheel listening to year-end celebratory fireworks that for the life of me sound like rifle shots.

Consider that my segue into commenting on a big day in state history that dawns in about three hours.

It’s the day that Texans can carry firearms in the open. We’ll be allowed to strap the shootin’ irons into holsters and wear ’em the way we used to wear ’em in the old days.

The Texas Legislature this year approved open carry legislation, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law.

There have been some interesting provisions about the law that deserve some mention.

One is that privately run colleges and universities have decided to opt out of the law; they won’t allow students or faculty members to carry them on campus.

Another is that some businesses also are disallowing customers from walking through their doors while packing heat in their holsters. One of the more interesting businesses to ban the activity is Whataburger, the Texas-based fast-food restaurant chain.

Those who are allowed to carry guns openly will be those who are registered to carry concealed guns in the first place. I suppose that means if customers want to buy a burger at Whataburger, they will need to keep the guns hidden under their jacket or tucked away in their purse.

I’ve already expressed my reservations about open-carry. I won’t predict that bad things will happen involving those who are packing heat openly. I had expressed concerns when the 1995 Legislature enacted the state’s concealed-carry law, but I’m happy to acknowledge — as I’ve done already in public — that my fears have not been realized.

It’s going to be a new day in Texas. I’ll accept the new law and hope for the best.

Oh, and one more thing. I’ve always advised people, “Don’t ever argue with someone carrying a gun.” In Texas, for the past two decades, that could be just about anyone.

With the new open-carry law taking effect in just a little bit, at least we’ll be able to spot the firearm on someone’s hip before we think about mouthing off.

Open-carry still causes concern

Concealed-handgun carry legislation was thought to be of concern when the 1995 Texas Legislature approved it.

It has proved effective in at least one regard: Thinking that motorists might be carrying a gun with them has made other motorists a lot more circumspect if they get cut off on the street.

Now the 2015 Legislature is considering an open-carry bill. This one give me pause.


Why is that? I’m concerned about what some have indicated might become a problem — which is that someone carrying a handgun openly could become a target in the event shooting starts somewhere.

Interesting, yes? I share that concern.

The bill got stalled today in the Texas House of Representatives on a procedural glitch. It’s likely to come up in a day or two and the House is likely to approve it.

I’d bet real American cash that Gov. Greg Abbott would sign it if gets to his desk.

That doesn’t alleviate my concern about open-carry legislation becoming a state law.

I continue to wonder whether carrying guns openly on one’s holster created a safer society back in the old days when it was customary. Will the presence of guns being carried in the open today make us safer than the belief that someone is packing a pistol under his jacket or in her purse?

I still have my doubts.


Nearly the worst in this road rage incident

I’m glad Kay Hafford is recovering from a gunshot wound to her head.

She is a Houston resident who was shot in a road-rage incident in the Texas city. Why did she become a shooting victim? She honked at a driver who she said cut her off on the freeway.

The driver then pulled a gun and shot her as she was driving to work.


OK, I’ll stipulate that incidents such as this made me initially quite opposed to Texas’s concealed handgun carry legislation, which the Legislature approved in 1995. I feared these kinds of incidents would be much more common than they’ve turned out to be.

My view of CHL has softened quite a bit since then.

I’m not clear if the shooter in this case was licensed to carry a weapon.

I’ll just say this: The concealed handgun carry law has made me a lot less likely to honk at anyone, even if they cut me off — as the driver did to Kay Hafford.

CHL has created a bit more circumspection on the road.

As Hafford said: “As much as you want to retaliate, think twice, because you may be in the situation like I am, but you might not make it.”


An interesting argument on open-carry …

Many of my friends, acquaintances and colleagues seem to think I live, breathe, eat, drink and smell politics and policy … 24/7. Most of them know that I once was a full-time print journalist whose job was to stay abreast of these things.

That’s all they want to discuss with me. That and my granddaughter.

A friend and colleague, though, posed an interesting notion this week about the proposal in the Texas Legislature to allow Texans to carry firearms openly, where everyone can see them.

My friend told me he has a concealed-carry license and carries a gun, presumably where the sun doesn’t shine.

“I think open-carry is a stupid idea,” he said. “Why? Because of something happens and someone starts shooting a gun, he’s going to shoot the guy with the gun. The individual who’s carrying openly becomes a target.”

Interesting, yes?

My friend wants the open-carry legislation to become law in Texas. He and I shared our views on it and I told him I remain concerned about it, although I perhaps could change my mind on it over time as I did — more or less — with the state’s concealed-carry law.

I certainly will pray my friend’s concern about the target aspect of open-carry legislation doesn’t pan out.



Open-carry in Texas? Let's talk about this one

Gun-packing in Texas took another step toward something that makes me quite uncomfortable with passage by the state Senate of a bill allowing licensed concealed-carry permit holders to pack heat in the open.

Man, this one give me the heeby-jeebies.


Senate Bill 17 passed 20-11 in the Senate. Republicans supported it, Democrats opposed it.

It allows those who already have a concealed carry permit to strap a gun on their holster and display it in the open, kind of the way they did in the Old West days — which made the Old West a much safer place than it we have today, correct?

A four-hour debate ensued before the Senate voted for it. One of the more interesting comments came from the “dean” of the Senate, Democrat John Whitmire of Houston, who’s hardly a squishy liberal. He argued in vain for an amendment that would ban carrying openly in the State Capitol. Why? Well, he said the Criminal Justice Committee he chairs often gets unstable witnesses testifying before it and he fears someone might pull out a gun and start blazing away.


The Texas Tribune reported Whitmire’s comments this way: “Relating his experiences dealing with angry or mentally ill individuals before his committee, Whitmire said it would now be easy for such a person to grab handgun out of a holster to use it to attack bystanders.

“’It’s dead wrong … to say there’s not disturbed people in this building,’ said Whitmire, who chairs the Criminal Justice committee. ‘It’s not if it’s going to happen it’s when it’s going to happen, and you know it and I know it.’”

Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, called Whitmire’s scenario “far-fetched.”

Interesting. OK, assume it’s far-fetched. Does that somehow justify allowing just one individual to twist off in a rage that results in gunfire?

What am I missing here?


Carry guns in the open? I don’t think so

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, is taking heat from her liberal supporters for advocating a law that allows people to carry guns openly.

The Democratic candidate for governor is making a mistake with that one.


Texas’s concealed handgun carry law has worked better than I ever thought it would. However, there ought to be some restrictions on where and how people can pack heat. The concealed carry law works. Why broaden it?

I can remember when the concealed carry law debate began in 1995. Our newspaper opposed it. Why? We believed street-corner shootouts could occur in cases of road rage gone amok. We were wrong.

However, I remember vividly my boss at the time, publisher Garet von Netzer, questioning then-state Sen. Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, about the law. Bivins supported the legislation allowing concealed handgun carry. Von Netzer asked Bivins point-blank — no pun intended — “If it’s such a good idea, why don’t you just allow folks to strap six-shooters on their hips? For that matter, why not allow them in the Capitol Building?”

The question caught Bivins flat-footed, if memory serves.

It was a good thing to ask then and it’s good to ask the likes of Wendy Davis now.

Concealed-carry laws are sufficient. Why change what’s working?