Tag Archives: gun rights

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.

Executive action on guns draws expected fire

gun over american flag

President Obama is considering some executive action he hopes will require gun dealers to go through increased background checks.

Does it mean that “law-abiding Americans” will be denied their right to “keep and bear arms” as provided by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Obama says “no.” Republican presidential candidates say “yes.”

Who do you believe? I guess that depends on your political party, your philosophical persuasion, your own bias.

Me? I’m willing to let the president give it a try.

I am going to take the usual — and expected — criticism from readers of this blog who believe as GOP contender Chris Christie said that Obama is acting like a “dictator.”

I disagree with that characterization. The president has a team of constitutional lawyers surrounding him who’ll likely advise him that he’s acting totally within the law in issuing the orders to require the checks.

Congress won’t do it. Heck, Congress wouldn’t even approve legislation that would have restricted people placed on no-fly lists from owning firearms. Does the president expect Congress to follow his lead on his effort to curb gun violence? Not a chance.

So he’ll do what he needs to do on his own.

Do I feel threatened? Are the feds going to knock on my door and take my guns away from me? No and no.

However, the president’s apparent move toward executive action has prompted the apoplectic response from the GOP presidential field.

But what the heck. That’s politics.


Your guns are safe … honest

Given that social media commentary becomes part of the public domain once it’s posted, I want to share a thought from a friend of mine who put this out there.

“Is it just me, or did I miss the President saying he wanted to confiscate all guns? No one wants your f****** guns!!!! What I want is a conversation of whether or why gun violence is an epidemic in this country and what we can do about it. For beginners, you folks on the other side need to convince me why adding more guns is the answer. And I’m skeptical about defending yourself from the government, because right now quite frankly some gun owners scare me a helluva lot more than the government. Thanks for listening.”

My friend is a lawyer. He’s a smart fellow — and not just because I happen to agree with him.

Gun-rights advocates keep saying things that aren’t true, starting with their false claims that President Obama wants to take our guns away from us. After that, the lies spin off into fairy tales about martial law, seeking to suspend the Constitution and a conspiracy to get Barack Obama elected to a third consecutive term.

Another friend of mine actually told me — to my face — that he believes the third-term conspiracy actually has merit. I laughed out loud.

My friend’s request is a reasonable one, which is to have a rational conversation about whether there’s a way to stem the flow of guns in our society without doing harm to the Second Amendment, the one that guarantees Americans the right to “keep and bear arms.”

Can’t we have that conversation without the crazy talk that comes mostly from one side proclaiming that it’s all a plot to take away our guns?


‘Accident’ becomes new ‘oops’ moment … maybe

Rick Perry had an “accident” in an interview dealing with the Charleston, S.C., massacre.

He called the attack that killed nine church members an “accident.”

The former Texas governor’s handlers sought to take it back, saying he meant to call it an “incident.”

But the damage may have been done. Social media took off like a rocket with the “accident” comment, comparing it to Perry’s infamous “oops” gaffe uttered during a debate in the 2012 GOP primary season.


The carnage created allegedly Dylann Roof was no “accident,” clearly. Heck, I wouldn’t settle for the word “incident” to describe it. It’s much, much worse.

But as social media thought to make hay about the former governor’s gaffe, I’m struck by the lack of response from Rick Perry himself.

I’m not interested in hearing what his press flack says about what Gov. Perry intended to say.

As expected, Perry sought to frame his response in part against how he characterized President Obama’s reaction to it, contending that the president hates guns so much that he would prefer to disarm Americans. Oh, never mind that the president has declared his support of the Second Amendment.

So …

Governor? What did you intend to say? And please, don’t just parrot what your press person has said what you meant.

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.


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.



Proposed ammo ban draws fire

So, a proposal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to ban ammunition used in assault rifles has become a target by those who say hunters actually use these weapons to hunt wild game.

The weapon at issue is the AR-15, which is virtually identical to the M-16 rifle soldiers have been issued when they go to duty in combat zones.

The ammo in question is a .223-caliber bullet that is tipped with material designed to produce maximum penetration.


ATF wants to ban the ammo. Gun-rights supporters contend it’s another step toward disarming law-abiding Americans. It isn’t. It’s designed to protect law enforcement officers who could be killed by those using these weapons in anger.

Still, some on the right have suggested that the ban would occur by presidential executive action. That’s not the case. This notion is coming from a law enforcement agency.

The Hill reports that lawmakers have asked ATF to pull back the proposal. According to The Hill: “Under no circumstances should ATF adopt a standard that will ban ammunition that is overwhelmingly used by law-abiding Americans for legitimate purposes,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to ATF Director B. Todd Jones.

The Constitution’s Second Amendment, of course, is the centerpiece of the opposition to the proposal. The Second Amendment does not guarantee the manufacture and distribution of weapons and ammunition that police deem to be dangerous beyond all reason.

There remain plenty of opportunities — even if the ATF ban goes into effect — for law-abiding citizens to “keep and bear arms.”