Tag Archives: concealed carry

Nervous about this new law

Texans are going to welcome a lot of new laws at the stroke of midnight.

I want to deal briefly with one of them. It’s a law they call “constitutional carry” of firearms. The new law allows anyone to carry a gun openly without ever having to take a test to prove they are qualified to operate this weapon.

To be clear, it does have some restrictions. A convicted felon cannot carry a gun; nor can anyone dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.

Everyone else? No sweat. Strap on the six-gun and pack it anywhere you wish.

This law makes me nervous. It’s a product of the state’s Republican-heavy Legislature and was signed by our Republican governor, Greg Abbott.

OK, I’ll stipulate that I disliked the state’s concealed carry law when it took effect more than 20 years ago. I feared shootouts at intersections. They didn’t happen with the kind of regularity that I feared.

So, over time I came to accept the concealed carry law even though I never have endorsed it.

I am not sure I’ll be able to accept this “constitutional carry” law. I always have  though that the state’s concealed carry law was sufficient. It worked. Yes, we have too many guns out there. To be honest, the existence of the concealed carry law in Texas has deterred me from getting verbally abusive of drivers who cut me off, or tailgate me, or otherwise drive in a manner that makes me angry.

This idea of allowing anyone to pack heat without having to take a test and get a license, though, does cause me some anxiety.

Good luck, everyone. Be sure to behave yourself.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

 

Hoping for the best

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

OK. I shall remain opposed the legislation that will become law effective Sept. 1.

However, I am going to enter a new phase of opposition. I want to give “permit-less carry of handguns” a chance to work until – or if – my worst fears become a reality.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law the other day. It is the “constitutional carry” legislation that became a favorite of legislative Republicans. It allows anyone to pack a gun without even requiring them to take a mandatory gun safety course and passing a mandatory test. The state has had a concealed carry law on the books for decades. This new law renders the concealed carry law moot.

The Legislature did tweak the bill before sending it to Abbott’s desk.

According to the Texas Tribune: Before approving the bill, the Senate tacked on several amendments to address concerns by law enforcement groups that opposed permitless carry, worried it would endanger officers and make it easier for criminals to get guns.

The compromise lawmakers reached behind closed doors kept intact a number of changes the Senate made to the House bill, including striking a provision that would have barred officers from questioning people based only on their possession of a handgun.

The deal also preserves a Senate amendment enhancing the criminal penalties for felons and family violence offenders caught carrying. Among other Senate changes that made it into the law was a requirement that the Texas Department of Public Safety offer a free online course on gun safety.

Big-city cops opposed the law along with most Texans. So I don’t feel like the proverbial Lone Ranger in fearing what this law could produce, which could be a spasm of violence created by those who are packing heat under the new law.

To be fair, I had much the same fear about concealed carry legislation. To my pleasant surprise, the concealed carry law has not produced a huge tick in gunfights on the streets, or in the grocery store parking lot – or anywhere else, for that matter!

I am going to hold out hope that this new law can produce the same sort of reasonable reaction.

Will it turn me into an avid supporter of this law? Probably not. I am willing to honor the role as someone who accepts the law if not embracing it.

I will simply hope for the best.

Note: This blog was published initially on KETR.org.

New feud brewing in Texas Senate?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Even though I am far removed from state and local politics these days by virtue of my retirement from full-time journalism, I do maintain a fairly high level of interest in the goings-on.

Such as what might be brewing in Austin between Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a longtime nemesis, Republican state Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo.

I’ll stipulate up front that I have declared my pro-Seliger bias. I know the senator quite well and I consider him a friend. He and Patrick have butted noggins already in previous legislative sessions. Patrick has sought to punish Seliger for allegedly “insulting” a key aide of Patrick’s. My reading of Seliger’s response has been it’s rolled off his broad back.

Now, though, comes this nutty legislation that might get stalled in the Senate. It’s the one that would allow any Texan who lives to pack a firearm even without obtaining a state-issued permit under the state’s concealed-carry law. Seliger thinks the current system works just fine and hasn’t signed on to the bill already approved by the House of Representatives.

Patrick, meanwhile, says he’ll move the bill forward once it obtains the required 18-vote majority it requires under Senate rules; Seliger’s holdout leaves the bill one vote short before it can be taken up by the full Senate.

Seliger is leaving open the possibility that he could be persuaded to support the bill. I hope he stands firm. It’s not that I want Patrick to punish him some more. Indeed, there’s little more that Patrick can do to Seliger above what he’s done already, which was to strip him of committee chairmanships and reassign him from some of the higher profile Senate panels on which he served.

I dislike the proposed legislation. No … I hate it!

With that, I will implore my friend to stand firm. Be strong.

‘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.

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.

Sigh.

Let ’em allow guns anywhere

This editorial cartoon appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and it speaks to an interesting irony about those who believe “more guns will keep us safe.”

The Conservative Political Action Conference, the Republican National Convention and the White House all prohibit guns. That’s fine with me.

The cartoon, though, does remind me of something a former boss of mine once asked a prominent Republican Texas senator before the Texas Legislature enacted a law allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns.

The 1995 Legislature approved a concealed-carry bill, which Gov. George W. Bush signed into law. The Amarillo Globe-News, where I worked, opposed the legislation and we editorialized against it. The publisher of the paper at the time was Garet von Netzer, as conservative a fellow as anyone I’ve ever known. He didn’t like the concealed-carry bill.

I’ll never forget the time von Netzer asked the late Sen. Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, this question: “If you think it’s all right for people to carry guns under their jackets, why don’t you allow them to carry those guns onto the floor of the Legislature?” The Legislature chose then to ban guns inside the State Capitol Building.

I don’t recall Sen. Bivins’s answer.

Von Netzer’s question then seems totally appropriate today.

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.

Campus-carry takes effect … very soon!

CampusCarry-PencilBullets_jpg_800x1000_q100

Monday will be a big day in Texas.

Fifty years ago, a gunman climbed to the top of the Texas Tower at the University of Texas campus in Austin and opened fire with his high-powered rifle.

Sixteen people died that day before the cops got to the gunman and shot him dead .

Aug. 1, 1966 is one of the state’s most infamous days.

Texas is going to mark that date by allowing people to carry guns on college campuses.

Ironic, yes? Tragically so? Yes again.

It’s interesting to me — and to a lot of others — that educators oppose this notion. Only one private university is allowing guns on its campus; the rest of them have said “no thanks.” Public universities are required under the law to allow students to carry guns into classrooms.

UT Chancellor William McRaven — the former Navy SEAL and special forces commander — is one of those who opposes campus-carry. But, what the hey? What does he know?

I’ll stipulate that I have come to accept concealed-handgun-carry as a way of life in Texas. I don’t necessarily endorse it.

Allowing guns on campuses, though, does present a unique set of concerns. What if a professor hands out a failing grade to a student who, um, might have a short fuse that could be lit with a dose of bad news? Does that student then pose an extra threat to the prof if he’s packing heat under his jacket?

Well, Texas is about to enter another era on its college and university campuses.

I’m going to hope for the best.

If only the state could have picked another date to allow guns on our campuses.