Tag Archives: open-carry

Burger chain: You can pack, just not in the open

Now that Whataburger has declared that people carrying guns in the open won’t be served in its Texas restaurants, let’s be sure we understand something else.

Texas also has a concealed carry permit provision, meaning that Texans can carry a handgun hidden under their clothing. The only people who’ll be allowed to carry openly are those with concealed permits.

So …

If you have a concealed carry permit and you want to go to Whataburger for a big ol’ burger, you’re entitled to do so.

That’s my understanding.

Whataburger staffers aren’t going to frisk customers walking into their establishments to ensure they aren’t carrying weapons. The company, based in Texas, is merely banning those who have a gun strapped to their hips — in plain sight. The open-carry law takes effect in January.

After all, the concealed carry law that the Texas Legislature enacted in 1995 was meant to keep these firearms hidden from view and deterring bad guys from doing something they shouldn’t be doing for fear that the person next to them is packing a pistol.

Bon appetit, y’all.

Guns soon will be going to college

It’s tough to write about this in the aftermath of that hideous shooting rampage in Charleston, S.C., but I’ll try anyway.

Campus carry legislation has become law in Texas, meaning that before long it’ll be all right for students to carry guns to public college and university classrooms.

I’m going to try my best to keep a wide open mind on this issue, even though I join University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven in harboring serious concerns about it.


The Charleston carnage will take time to sort out. Dylann Roof is in custody and it’s likely he’ll be charged with a hate crime, meaning the feds will try him. As hideous as that crime is and the pain it has brought to an entire nation, it shouldn’t reflect on what has transpired here in Texas.

Our sincerest hope is that nothing does happen in Texas’s public universities that can be traced directly to the campus-carry law that Gov. Greg Abbott signed.

Concealed-carry legislation brought many concerns to Texans. I was one of them. Our concern about concealed-carry did not materialize, meaning that it didn’t result in street-intersection shootouts caused by fender-bender accidents.

Only people with concealed-carry permits will be allowed to pack heat into the western civilization lecture halls, which means they’ll at least have some training on how to use a handgun.

The question remaining for McRaven and other university administrators is how they’re going to implement the law, allowing students and faculty members to bring guns onto campuses.

I wish them all well.

And yes, I truly am hoping for the best.


Texas GOP wins, but some Republicans remain angry

Some Texas Republicans can’t seem to win enough.

The Legislature approved two key bills near and dear to gun owners: open carry and campus carry. Gov. Greg Abbott just signed them both into law, which now means that Texans licensed to carry concealed weapons can do so openly; they’ll also be able now to pack heat on college campuses.


If you’re a gun owner rights advocate, you’d be happy. Correct?

I guess not entirely.

The state GOP was unable to approve a resolution that slapped around four Republican lawmakers for “standing in the way” of Texans’ gun ownership rights.

Good grief, folks. You won! You got what you wanted! But as the Texas Tribune reported, the notion of such a resolution made some GOP officials uneasy: “But the very prospect of it riled some party leaders, sparking heated debate about the committee’s role in the Capitol and seriously complicating party fundraising in at least one instance.”

The party lost a vendor who’d been a major fundraiser and who had been uneasy about the resolution rebuking some lawmakers.

However, some members of the State Republican Executive Committee wanted to single out House Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, Rep. Larry Phillips and Sen. Joan Huffman for their opposition to a “Constitutional Carry” amendment, which translates into allowing unlicensed Texans to carry firearms.

Some members of the Texas GOP need to settle down. Take a breath. You won the contest over these two key gun-related issues.


Texas is about to add to its reputation

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.


Texas power honeymoon is over

Is the honeymoon over among the Big Three of Texas’s state government?

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus sat down this week for some breakfast. It reportedly didn’t go too well.


Patrick purportedly complained that Abbott and Straus were “picking on me” and said he wanted it to stop.

Abbott, Straus and Patrick all issued statements later, with the governor saying he had a “strong working relationship” with the lieutenant governor.

I daresay this might be a precursor of things to come in Austin, with Patrick marching to his own cadence as he runs the state Senate. Meanwhile, Abbott and Straus might be more inclined to operate on a mainstream conservative level.

R.G. Ratliffe, writing for Texas Monthly, reports that Patrick and Straus argued over Patrick’s assertion that the House isn’t moving quickly enough on Senate-passed legislation. Patrick declared a “new day” in Austin when he was inaugurated, got the Senate to pass some tough legislation — open-carry of firearms, tax cuts and moving the Public Integrity Unit to the control of the Department of Public Safety. The Man of the House, Straus, has let the legislation simmer far longer than Patrick wants.

Patrick, being the take-charge guy he is, now is trying to pressure Abbott to act on his behalf. Abbott apparently isn’t having any of it.

Thus, the three of them are at each other’s throats.

I believe some Texas pundits might have foreseen this kind of friction when Abbott and Patrick were campaigning for their respective offices.

Patrick is a tiger. Abbott is more, um, reserved. Straus? He’s more like Abbott than Patrick.

Might there be a feud building between Patrick and Abbott — that might lead to a primary challenge for governor, say, in 2018?

Let’s all stay tuned, shall we?


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.


'Open-carry' votes missing in state Senate

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is showing some early signs of realism.

He said the Texas Senate might be unable to approve a bill allowing Texans to carry firearms in the open.

I hope his skepticism hold up.


Patrick told the Texas Tribune that while he embraces the Second Amendment, open-carry legislation isn’t a top priority among state senators. “Second Amendment rights are very important, but open carry does not reach to the level of prioritizing at this point,” he said. “I don’t think the votes are there.”

I’ve waltzed all over the pea patch on this one. I used to oppose concealed-carry legislation, fearing the worst. The worst hasn’t happened and it doesn’t appear that it will, so I’ve acknowledged by mistaken fear of concealed-firearm carry legislation.

This open-carry business, though, still gives me the nervous jerks.

I keep asking myself: Back in the days of the Old West, was this a safer place with good guys packing heat right along with bad guys?

Yes, this no longer is the Wild West and we’re supposed to be more, um, civilized now than they were back in those days.

It’s just the idea of seeing folks with guns on their hips …

Patrick might be able to count votes among the 31 senators, but he’s got a wild bunch across the way in the House of Representatives who are going to put the pressure on enact this legislation.

Be strong, senators.