Tag Archives: open carry

‘Godless … hearts’ are a part of the gun violence ‘problem’

It didn’t take long for Texas state Rep. Matt Schaefer to weigh in on what he said should not occur in the wake of the Odessa slaughter of seven people at the hands of a shooter.

The Tyler Republican said the state should not enact red flag rules, or ban high-capacity magazines or the sale or possession of AR-15 or AK-47 rifles, weapons of war designed to kill a maximum number of people in as little time as possible.

Oh, brother.

Schaefer is entitled to his opinion. I am entitled to mine as well.

I believe he is dead wrong. I also believe there are legislative remedies available to state legislatures and to Congress that can place additional restrictions on the purchase of these weapons without infringing on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

The shooter opened fire when a police officer pulled him over on a traffic stop. He then went on a rampage through Odessa before police killed him in a fire fight after stopping him outside of a movie theater.

Schaefer launched a Twitter thread that has gotten a good bit of resistance from Texas and around the nation. One of his entries included this: I say NO to “red flag” pre-crime laws. NO to universal background checks. NO to bans on AR-15s, or high capacity magazines. NO to mandatory gun buybacks.

Well, we know where he stands.

He added this item on the thread: YES to supporting our public schools. YES to giving every law-abiding single mom the right to carry a handgun to protect her and her kids without permission from the state, and the same for all other law-abiding Texans of age.

Texas already has lax gun restrictions. We allow residents to carry concealed weapons; they can carry them in the open. They can carry them on college campuses, in church sanctuaries.

This is the second mass slaughter in Texas in the past few weeks. I do not feel one bit safer now knowing that Texans can pack heat, giving them the opportunity to “prevent” this kind of madness.

Rep. Schaefer, we need to do something. Yes, “Godless hearts” are a problem, as Schaefer said. However, they are only part of the crisis that is enveloping the country.

More guns won’t prevent carnage … period!

I am quite certain we’re going to join this debate fully in due course, but I want to inject on this blog a thought I heard this morning in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Thirty people are dead, many more are injured in the wake of two senseless attacks by morons intent on doing harm.

The debate to which I refer? It will involve whether putting more guns in people’s hands will make us a safer society. This morning I heard from a Texan, former San Antonio mayor and former housing secretary (and current candidate for president of the United States) Julian Castro, who made a most cogent observation.

He told “This Week” host Jon Karl that the El Paso slaughter occurred in Texas. It allegedly was carried out by a Texan, who traveled from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex to El Paso to terrorize innocent victims.

Castro noted that Texas is known worldwide as a place where its residents carry lots of guns; he noted we have concealed carry laws, open carry laws and campus carry laws in Texas. Yet the individual who opened fire in the Wal-Mart mall likely knew of the consequence of facing return fire from firearm-packing bystanders … but it didn’t deter him in the least!

He committed his hideous, heinous and horrific act anyway.

Do more guns make us safer? Well, let’s have that debate. I am willing to argue they do not!

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.

Still waiting to see guns on hips


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.

Guns create better road manners?


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


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.



Open carry on campus? Please . . . no!

campus carry

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, today made it clear that he opposes the notion of allowing anyone to carry weapons on college campuses in Texas.

More to the point, as I heard his talk today to the Rotary Club of Amarillo, he said that allowing guns into college classrooms is a particularly bad idea.

He noted a key foe of the idea of allowing such activity. That would be the chancellor of the University of Texas System. You’ve heard of him, perhaps. Former Navy Admiral William McRaven once led the nation’s special forces command. He is a Navy SEAL who, according to Seliger, “knows more about guns than just about anyone.”

McRaven thinks allowing guns on campus is a bad idea.

Seliger then presented a fascinating scenario to buttress the point about how bad an idea it is to let someone carry a gun openly into a university classroom.

Suppose a professor gives a student a bad grade, he said. Suppose, then, that the grade enrages the student so much that he wants to harm the professor.

I think you get the point.

I’m not going to oppose openly the idea of allowing Texans to carry guns in plain sight. The concealed carry law, enacted in 1995, hasn’t produced gunfights at traffic intersections, as some of us — yours truly included — had feared would happen.

But there ought to be some places where we ought to restrict the open display of these weapons.

Houses of worship are among those places.

So are college classrooms.

And none of that endangers the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.