Tag Archives: gun violence

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.



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.

POTUS makes another run at gun violence

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden well might beat himself senseless with this initiative but he deserves credit for bringing needed attention to a national scourge.

That would be gun violence.

Biden says clearly that “it has to end.” To be sure, the president is getting push back from — get ready for it — the Republican caucus in Congress. GOP lawmakers blame the progressive movement and its “defund the police” mantra for the spike in gun violence. I guess that means Republicans won’t do anything about it. They’ll continue to sit on their hands, continue to obstruct any effort to legislate a remedy to what has become an all-too-common event: mass shootings.

USA Today reports: “Folks, this shouldn’t be a red or blue issue,” Biden said in the White House State Room. “It’s an American issue. We’re not changing the Constitution. We’re enforcing it, being reasonable. We’re taking on the bad actors doing bad and dangerous things in our communities.”

In a speech from the White House, Biden announced a “zero-tolerance policy” for rogue gun dealers and a new focus by the Justice Department to try to stop the illegal sale of firearms.

Biden also emphasized that cities and states can use their portions of $350 billion in direct aid from Biden’s COVID-19 rescue plan, approved by Congress in March, on public safety efforts, including hiring more police officers.

So, the resistance will come from those in Congress who believe liberals are to blame, which gives them a pretext to oppose legislation that seeks to target bad actors out there who contribute to the carnage.

‘It has to end’: Biden targets illegal gun sales, rogue dealers in strategy to combat rising crime (msn.com)

It’s hard to say how much of an impact President Biden’s initiative will have on the plague of gun violence. But my goodness. Why in the world must this resistance continue to obstruct good-faith efforts to deal forthrightly with what every sensible American must believe is occurring on our streets?

I have no intention of giving up this fight and I will continue to stand with those in power who see gun violence against innocent Americans as the existential threat it has been for far too long.

Stop the demagoguery on guns!

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am on the verge of pulling my hair out!

The hysteria mounted by those who oppose legislative solutions to the national gun violence epidemic is driving me to the edge of insanity.

The gun lobby keeps yammering about how those of us who want to make it even more difficult for nut jobs to obtain firearms are actually intent on “taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.”

I can think of fewer contemporary discussion topics that are farther from the truth than that one. I know what the Second Amendment says about the right to “keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I also know that it would be political folly for any reasonable politician to suggest that the amendment be stricken from the U.S. Constitution.

To say, though, that our intent is to disarm Americans is flat out wrong. It is frightening. It also is dangerous.

The danger comes in the form of those who believe such bullsh** and who react by storming government buildings, fully armed, threatening to do bodily harm to elected officials who are trying their level best to make us safer from the nut jobs among us.

We have witnessed such incidents in Oregon, Michigan, Texas (where my family and I live) and throughout the nation. The gun lobby has latched onto people’s fears and is exploiting it to the maximum degree. The whole lot of them are being led by the immediate past POTUS who foments the nonsense by declaring that “Democrats want to destroy the Second Amendment.”

I will not tolerate such utter trash. I remain committed to the notion that there remains a sensible legislative answer to the gun violence plague that retains the integrity of the Second Amendment. Anyone who suggests it’s all an effort to “disarm law-abiding citizens” is flat-out crazy.

A curious exception to open-carry law

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The Texas Legislature has approved a bill that allows any yahoo in Texas who wants to carry a gun to do so.

Yep. No need to take a test to prove competence with a firearm. No requirement for a license. Texas legislators say the U.S. Constitution is all the requirement anyone needs to pack heat.

Get this, though: The Legislature said you cannot carry a gun into the State Capitol Building, where legislators work! Hmm. Why is that?

I am reminded of the time back in the 1990s when a publisher with whom I worked in Amarillo questioned a state senator about a similar exception the Legislature sought when it considered its concealed-carry legislation. My boss, Garet von Netzer, quizzed the late Teel Bivins, an Amarillo Republican, why he and his colleagues won’t allow someone to “carry a six-shooter on their hip” when they walk into the Capitol. I don’t recall what Bivins said at the time, but von Netzer made a good point then … which is that if you’re going to allow Texans to arm themselves, then open it up to any venue in the state.

I only can presume that legislators have a secret fear of potential mayhem in the halls of state government when Gov. Greg Abbott signs this abomination into law.

What about those Texas pols?

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As we travel around the country and we tell folks that we hail from Texas, I get a certain question in various forms.

It goes something like this: What is going on in Texas, with those politicians down there?

One of the issues that drives the question deals with what they call in Austin “constitutional carry” of firearms. Gov. Greg Abbott is going to sign a bill that enables any Texan who isn’t a convicted felon to carry a firearm with any permit.

That’s right. Any yahoo who wants to pack a pistol on his hip can do so. There you go. More guns makes us a safer place, the politicians tell us.

My answer to the question is that I do not understand what rattles around in the noggins of those who think of such idiocy. I am left to utter a four-letter word or two to describe Gov. Abbott, a politicians I for whom I used to harbor positive personal feelings. Not any longer, man.

The political climate in the state where my family and I have lived for nearly 40 years is giving me the willies.

Get ready for more guns, Texas

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The organization once known as the “law and order party” is about to give Texas residents some serious pause about its commitment to the issue of, um … law and order.

On the strength of all 18 Republican Texas senators and a GOP majority of Texas House members, the Legislature is about to approve a new bill that allows Texans to pack heat wherever and whenever they want — without acquiring a mandated state-issued permit to do so.

Do you feel safer now? Hah! Me neither.

I hasten to add that this legislation is being pushed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk over the strenuous objections of big-, middle- and small-city chiefs of police all over the state. Many of them, such as Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, worry about a dramatic increase in armed suspects being stopped for various violations and the risk their officers face as a result.

Now it’s a matter of giving everyone who wants to carry a gun permission to do so. Yes, they have written some restrictions into it, such as disqualifying someone with a recent felony conviction.

Still, the notion that this bill takes down so-called “arbitrary restrictions” to the Second Amendment to our Constitution is foolish. Thus, that’s why it is being called “constitutional carry” legislation.

I had expressed some hope that the Senate would resist approving this nutty notion. My hope rested on my friend state Sen. Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican, who resisted it saying that the concealed carry permit restrictions were sufficient and that they did not infringe on the Second Amendment’s guarantee of firearm ownership.

I guess Seliger caved. That disappoints me.

As for the Republican legislative majority, I will presume that they all have said at least once during their political career how they support our law enforcement community. Hell, so do I!

If so, then why are they pushing back against the resistance of state’s cops?


Listen to us, legislators!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What gives with our elected representation in Austin?

They are charting legislative courses that, according to public opinion surveys, go directly against the wishes of the people for whom they work. That us, folks! You and me! And perhaps even our neighbors and family members.

Here’s a case in point.

The Texas Legislature is moving toward enacting a law that allows Texans to pack heat on their hips — a pistol in the open — without having to undergo a simple course and exam to prove they know how to handle the shootin’ iron.

Legislators, led by the Republican majority, call it “constitutional carry.” So, what do rank-and-file Texans think of it? They are opposed to letting our neighbors pack heat into the grocery store, or to park, or the gasoline service station.

The latest poll from the Texas Tribune/University of Texas says that 59 percent of Texans oppose “constitutional carry” of firearms. According to the Tribune: A solid majority of Texas voters don’t think adults should be allowed to carry handguns in public places without permits or licenses, though the idea is popular with a 56% majority of Republicans. Overall, 59% oppose unlicensed carry — a number driven up by the 85% of Democrats who oppose it. On the Republican side, the gun questions revealed a gender gap. Among Republican men, 70% said they support unlicensed carry; 49% of Republican women oppose that position.

So, my question is this: Who in the hell are the 181 state senators and House members, plus Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who runs the Senate — listening to?

Texas voters on “constitutional carry,” abortion bans and more in UT/TT Poll | The Texas Tribune

If we are to believe the Tribune/UT poll, they ain’t listening to their bosses, those of us who have to live with the laws they approve.

Shameful. Just shameful.

Gun hysteria is frightening

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The hysteria coming from the right wing of the political spectrum over gun safety, gun rights and gun related violence is scaring the bejabbers out of me.

I keep hearing the same mantra. Those who want to regulate gun purchases are intending to “take away your guns.” They want to disarm law-abiding Americans. They want to “toss out the Constitution’s Second Amendment” and they want us to create a passive population that does whatever the hell the government tells us to do.

How about that? Do you believe any of it? I don’t. Neither should you or anyone else.

The Second Amendment, which I contend was written poorly by the founders, does not mean that government must not regulate the purchase of firearms. The “well-regulated Militia” part of the amendment, of course, causes me some confusion as well.

Still, no serious politician that I have heard has said a word about taking guns away from those who keep them for legitimate purposes. You know, hunters, target shooters, those who want to protect their homes and their loved ones from robbers or others who want to harm them.

Good grief, man. There’s not a damn thing wrong with any of that.

Just so you know, we have two rifles in our home. I keep them hidden away. No one is going to take them from me. Nor do I ever expect government goons to bust down my door to seize them.

The gun debate has devolved into the worst form of demagoguery possible.

Gun violence remains a crisis in this country. We elect members of Congress to represent our interests. I believe they should heed their “bosses” demand that they do more to protect us against those who want to harm us.

Paranoia? Don’t think so!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Paranoia is not part of my emotional composition.

However, while walking through the neighborhood with Toby the Puppy on leash, a horrifying thought raced through my mind as we walked along a busy boulevard bordering our ‘hood.

I must preface my thought by noting the rash of gun violence we have experienced in this country for, oh, the past 20 years or so.

The thought? What in the world would I do were I to hear gunshots dangerously close by? What’s worse, the thought crossed my mind about what I would do were I actually hit by a stray bullet.

Has such a thought ever crossed your mind? Don’t answer that. I am speaking only for myself.

The truth is I don’t scare easily. I am not particularly “scared” right now. My noodle occasionally dances around with some strange thoughts. It did so this afternoon while I was walking our precious puppy through our wonderful, quiet neighborhood. I do not expect anything of the kind of violence we have witnessed in far-off places to erupt near us.

It’s just that the spate of gun violence, particularly in the past few days and weeks, has injected my brain with thoughts that give me some concern.

I don’t intend to act on it, tempting as it might seem to be.

We live in crazy, chaotic and kooky times. They are giving me thoughts I never imagined thinking when I was a boy or even as a much younger adult, other than when I drove through Da Nang, South Vietnam after the sun went down back in the old days. Hey, that was war, man. I certainly hope we aren’t heading in that direction here at home.