Ask a non-Texan to characterize the Lone Star State and the folks who live here in a sentence or two and you’re likely to hear the word “guns” mentioned.
“Texans love their guns.” “Texans would just as soon shoot someone as argue with ’em.” “Don’t mess with Texas, or someone with a gun will get ya.”
That kind of stuff.
Well, the Texas Legislature is likely to enhance or embellish that reputation if it approves two bills — over the expressed opposition of chiefs of police and at least one highly senior university administrator.
Open carry and campus carry bills are likely to become law in Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott says he’ll sign them both.
Lock ‘n load, Texas.
Police chiefs oppose the open carry bill that will enable those with concealed carry permits to pack the heat openly, strapped to holsters on their hips.
University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven opposes the campus carry bill, which would allow concealed carry licensees to bring weapons onto college campuses.
The top cops and the chancellor have the same fear of both bills: They have the potential of creating tragedy, either through accidental shooting or self-inflicted gunshots wounds.
Both pieces of legislation give me the heebie-jeebies. Yes, the concealed carry law enacted in 1995 did the same thing, but it’s generally turned out all right in terms of its impact on Texas society. There haven’t been the spasms of violence in intersections over fender-benders that some of us feared when concealed carry became the law in Texas.
With open carry and now, with campus carry, I continue to get the nervous jerks over knowing that we’re (a) going to allow guns to be carried in the open and (b) allowing guns into university classrooms.
Retired Admiral McRaven, a former Navy SEAL who later headed the U.S. Special Forces command, has an interesting take on the campus carry bill’s potential impact. According to the Texas Tribune: “’If you’re in a heated debate with somebody in the middle of a classroom, and you don’t know whether or not that individual is carrying, how does that inhibit the interaction between students and faculty?’ McRaven asked at a Texas Tribune event in February. McRaven and others have suggested gun-wielding students might intimidate classmates and professors to the point of curbing freedom of speech.”
Maybe all this concern is overblown. Then again, maybe it’s justified.
I fear the worst if the cause for justification presents itself.