Tag Archives: gun rights

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.

Reduce access at schools? No thanks

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has tossed out an idea worthy of discussion in reaction to the Santa Fe High School massacre of nine students and a teacher by one of the students at the school near Galveston.

The discussion, though, should be brief.

Patrick believes schools are too open, that they contain too many doors. Access is too easy. Gunmen can walk in and blast away, according to Patrick.

His solution? Let’s “harden” the schools, reduce the number of doors.

According to the Texas Tribune: “We may have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built. And what I mean by that is there are too many entrances and too many exits to our more than 8,000 campuses in Texas,” he said, citing security at office buildings and courthouses. “Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe he would have been stopped.”

OK. That’s enough of that.

Schools need those doors to enable students can escape in case of fire and, oh yes, in case someone does open fire in classrooms or in the halls.

Patrick’s idea appears to be well-intentioned. I’ll give him that much. However, it is entirely impractical, given the myriad other hazards that can confront students, teachers and school staffers.

At least, though, Lt. Gov. Patrick has started the discussion.

Please, let’s not arm teachers

We’re heading into another “national conversation” about how to make our schools safer, about how to protect our children from gunmen who open fire in public school classrooms.

Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, Texas, has become the latest — and certainly not the last — flashpoint in that discussion.

Ten people are dead and 10 more are injured. A student has been taken into custody and has been charged with capital murder. He faces the death penalty if he’s convicted.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, vowed to make our “schools safer.” Yes, Mr. President, we’re all for it.

Does that include arming teachers? For the umpteenth time, this blogger wants to say not just “no,” but “hell no!”

I am at a loss as to what the solution is. I remain convinced that there can be a legislative remedy found that keeps faith with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I am not smart enough to concoct a solution from this keyboard.

However, I merely want to implore the president and other public officials to steer far, far away from a discussion about putting guns in teachers’ hands.

The National Rifle Association keeps harping on the notion that “the only way to protect us from bad guys with guns is to put guns in the hands of good guys.”

So, that’s the answer? The way to end gun violence is to put more guns out there? Such nonsense makes me want to scream.

I do not want to hear that. Instead, I want to hear some possible solutions that place reasonable — and constitutional — restrictions on individuals capable of doing harm to the rest of us.

Oklahoma governor going out with ‘a bang’ … so to speak

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is a lame duck chief exec who appears to have discovered the joy of not having to face special interest groups as she tries to get re-elected.

Gov. Fallin, a Republican, vetoed a bill that came to her desk that would have allowed Oklahomans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, meaning they needed no training of any sort to pack heat amongst the rest of us.

Good … for … her!

The only stipulation in the bill she vetoed that was worth a damn was that the heat packers couldn’t have been convicted felons.

To no one’s surprise, the National Rifle Association is mad as hell at Fallin, who is term-limited from seeking another term as governor. The NRA pledges to help elect the next governor who, the organization hopes, will allow this ridiculous piece of legislation to become law.

But do you know who’s happy about it, aside from rank-and-file citizens who opposed this monstrosity? Law enforcement officers! The cops didn’t want Fallin to sign the bill. State and local police associations urged Fallin to keep her signature off the legislation. She listened to them.

Their fears were well-founded. They just believe that concealed carry opportunities must come with some reasonable restrictions. Passing a rudimentary test after taking a basic course on firearms safety hardly constitutes a ham-fisted limitation on the rights of folks to “keep and bear arms.”

And to think the Legislature wanted to remove event that rule. Good grief.

Again … you go, Gov. Fallin!

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.


2nd Amendment ‘under siege’? Oh, no it isn’t

Donald J. “Demagogue in Chief” Trump managed once again to inflame his political base with an assertion that he then contradicted in the very same sentence.

“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president,” he said this week at the National Rifle Association annual conference in Dallas.

His speech was typically Trumpian in its lack of focus, its meandering course and the politically tinged remarks.

He went off on the economy, the “fake news” allegedly ignoring the good job growth and dwindling unemployment, the Robert Mueller probe into the “Russia thing.”

He did devote a bit of his rambling soliloquy to gun issues, which is why he was in Dallas in the first place. He said the NRA’s foes have laid siege to the Second Amendment, then said it wouldn’t happen as long as he is president.

Which is it, sir? Is it under siege or not?

The truth is this: There is no “siege” being waged against the Second Amendment. Sure, there are some Americans who want it repealed or significantly modified. Many other Americans, though, want to legislate remedies to the spasm of gun violence in this country without destroying the Second Amendment.

Poll after poll indicate that Americans favor some additional controls on gun purchases. Those polls do not suggest Americans want to limit “law-abiding” citizens’ constitutional rights to “keep and bear arms.”

Yet the president keeps yapping about some phony “siege” he says is being waged against the Second Amendment. That, I submit, is the rhetoric of a demagogue.

Perhaps it was just as well that Donald Trump devoted so little of his podium time in Dallas to gun issues, as it only would have exposed further the president’s stunning ability to speak out of both sides of his pie hole.

Texas pols stay quiet about Trump gun talk

Barack Obama sought to legislate some remedy to the senseless slaughter of school children and other innocent victims.

The Texas Republican political leadership’s response then? They went apoplectic! They accused the president of seeking to repeal the Second Amendment, disarm law-abiding Americans and toss their firearms into the ocean … if you get my drift.

Donald Trump has just pitched an aggressive set of proposals to regulate gun purchases, make it more difficult to purchase assault weapons and raise the minimum wage for those who can buy these weapons.

The Texas GOP response? Nothing, man! Zip. Zero. Nada.

Hey, what gives here? Isn’t the president a Second Amendment champion? Doesn’t he believe its words are sacred, that they shouldn’t be tinkered with?

The president has gotten the attention of gun enthusiasts, although it’s not at all clear that the president is going to hold firm to what he is pitching. I am struck by the silence of key GOP politicians on this matter.

I happen to believe the president has presented a reasonable start to a serious discussion. I want to offer a full-throated endorsement of what he is pitching — except, of course, for the nutty notion of arming school teachers with firearms.

It is fascinating in the extreme to watch politicians from within the president’s own party remain silent as he fires off these proposals. If they had come from former President Obama, why, they’d be going nuts.

Do they stand behind a principle, or do they stand behind the man … who doesn’t seem to have any consistent political philosophy?

The nation is still crying over this tragedy

This tweet was fired off today from a former White House secretary, Jay Carney.

He writes that his boss, President Barack Obama, broke down in tears over the news that came from Newtown, Conn.

A deranged madman gunned down 20 first- and second-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The president, who is “normally stoic,” as Carney said, lost his cool. He cried.

So did Carney. Indeed, so did many Americans when they got word of what had happened. I was among them.

This tragedy occurred five years ago this week. It was supposed to be some sort of “tipping point” in the never-ending debate over gun violence and whether there were ways to legislate a remedy that could keep weapons out of the hands of lunatics, such as the monster who committed this dastardly deed.

The fight, as always, centered then on the Second Amendment, the one that guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms.” Gun-rights advocates argue that no law could have prevented the Newtown nut job from getting a gun, given that he got the weapon from his mother — who he also killed in his rampage.

The failure to act in the wake of that horrific event made the president cry yet again.

And … yes, there have been other such tragedies since that terrible December day: Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, to name just three of them.

When can we stop the tears?

Presidents should speak precisely … and with clarity


I am not going to ascribe some nefarious motive behind what Donald J. Trump said about the Second Amendment and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I do not know what he meant when he said “Second Amendment people” might take care of Clinton if she’s elected president and appoints judges who might be unfriendly to gun owners’ rights.

The Republican presidential nominee has come under withering criticism for seemingly — according to some folks — suggesting someone should actually harm the Democratic presidential nominee.

The troubling aspect up front for me is the lack of clarity and precision that keeps pouring out of Trump’s pie hole when he makes statements such as his latest stumble-bum utterance.

He wants to be president of the United States, allegedly.

That means he must follow a number of rules associated with being head of state and government.

One of them has to be to speak with absolute clarity all the time.

I’m trying to imagine Trump letting slip some ridiculous assertion about a world leader or an international trouble spot that gets lost in the translation. These things do happen, you know.

What if, for example, he repeats his belief that Japan and South Korea should be able to develop nukes as a defense against North Korea? How is that tinhorn despot Kim Jong Un going to interpret it? Would he then, on a whim, decide to attack South Korea believing that his peninsula neighbors are about to explode a nuclear device?

The kind of loose and careless talk — which is what he exhibited with his Second Amendment remarks in North Carolina — cannot be tolerated in someone who presents himself as a serious candidate for the U.S. presidency.

Trump steps in it … again


Donald J. Trump has shown a remarkable ability to say things that those who hear them can interpret in ways that he may not have intended.

He did it again today at a North Carolina campaign rally.

The Republican presidential nominee fired up his crowd by declaring that Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton “essentially” intends to dismantle the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

He said: “By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”


Unlike many folks who blog or pontificate on politics, I am not a mind-reader. Therefore, I am not going to presume what Trump meant to say.

Some suggest he meant that “Second Amendment people” could do serious harm to Clinton if she appoints judges to the federal judiciary who will gut gun owners’ rights.

Others, such as GOP vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, said that he meant only to encourage those “Second Amendment people” to vote for president this fall.


Trump, to no one’s surprise, hasn’t yet clarified his own remarks. He has chosen, I suppose, to leave it to others to parse his statement.

There is a pattern here. Trump says things with little appreciation for the consequences of what he utters.

It’s interesting to me that at the moment he spoke about the “Second Amendment people,” he never offered any detail, such as, oh: “There’s nothing you can do, folks, although the Second Amendment people can be sure to get out and vote for me, because I will protect the rights of gun owners.”

He didn’t do that.

Now we’re left to wonder what this guy actually means.

Mr. Trump, allow me to be among the many who’ve warned you already: Words have consequences.