Tag Archives: guns

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?

Ridiculous.

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.

Stand firm, Sen. Seliger

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Oh, I do hope a certain state senator reads this blog, as I intend to encourage him to stand firm against a blatantly reckless piece of legislation.

Republican Kel Seliger of Amarillo, a longtime friend of mine, is digging in against a bill that would, if approved, allow any Texan to pack heat even without a permit.

It’s a bit complicated. Texas Senate rules require 18 votes to consider a bill for a floor debate. That means all Republicans need to endorse the legislation. Seliger is balking.

The Texas Tribune reported: On Friday afternoon, one key GOP senator, Sen.¬†Kel Seliger¬†of Amarillo, suggested he may not be immediately supportive of the proposal. He¬†told The Texas Tribune¬†that his office was still researching the issue and he tends to support “just about all” bills related to gun rights, but the “system that we have now works.” He said it was too early to say whether he would block the bill from coming to the floor or vote against it if it made it to the floor.

Texas constitutional carry lacks the votes in Senate, Dan Patrick says | The Texas Tribune

The system “we have now” requires anyone who takes a brief course on firearm safety and operation and then passes a background check can carry a handgun concealed on his or her person. Yeah, the current system works well. What the Legislature is considering — and which the House already has approved — is a bill to allow anyone to carry a gun.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, said the legislative body lacks the votes to approve the bill, but added that he intends to work to ensure that it makes the grade. That disappoints me, given that in 2017 he expressed concern about the notion of putting guns in the hands of every Texan who wants to carry one.

In a way, though, Seliger’s apparent resistance doesn’t surprise me. Nor would it surprise me if Patrick punishes Seliger in some fashion if the senator digs in for the length of the legislative session. The two men aren’t fond of each other as it is. Hey, I’ll just have to stand with my friend on this one.

Hope for gun reform looks dim and grim

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The twin massacres in Atlanta and Boulder filled me with a fleeting hope that we might be able to get some gun control legislation shoved through Congress.

Then reality set in. That was when I realized that after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School when 20 first- and second-graders along with six teachers were gunned down by the lunatic with an assault rifle wouldn’t spawn some relief, then nothing would.

The Atlanta massacre involved a hate crime against Asian-American women. The Boulder massacre involved a loon who walked into a grocery store and opened fire.

It scares me at this moment to think that even shopping for milk and eggs at a grocery store now has become a hazardous endeavor.

Would those two massacres, along with, say, the Sandy Hook carnage or the tragedy that occurred at the church in Charleston, S.C., bring some relief? One would hope so. One might even believe so.

It didn’t happen. Indeed, after the Sandy Hook shooting, President Obama stood, with tears in his eyes, and implored Congress to act. It refused to stand up to the gun lobby, forcing the president to call it the darkest moment of his time in office.

I will say it repeatedly that I believe there exists a legislative solution that does not endanger the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The task, though, is to find lawmakers with the courage to stand up against the zealots.

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

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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.

How many more instances of Trump ignorance are there?

2d-amendment

This graphic showed up on my Facebook news feed, so I thought I’d share it here … and offer a quick comment.

The item here illustrates a fundamental failure of the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

He has said at various times that Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What that blanket comment made on the campaign stump reveals is the candidate’s utter ignorance of the power invested in the presidency.

The president cannot abolish a constitutional amendment.

Congress has to have a say. So do the states. As the graphic illustrates, it takes a super-majority in both cases for an amendment to be added — or rescinded.

None of that stops Trump from fomenting fear.

The man has no clue about the limits of presidential power.

Ginsburg: 2nd Amendment is ‘outdated’

Some of the weapons collected in Wednesday's Los Angeles Gun Buyback event are showcased Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 during a news conference at the LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office says the weapons collected Wednesday included 901 handguns, 698 rifles, 363 shotguns and 75 assault weapons. The buyback is usually held in May but was moved up in response to the Dec. 14 massacre of students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

This came across my radar screen this afternoon.

I offer it here without comment. The thoughts belong to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed to the court in 1993 by President Clinton.

She said:¬†“The Second Amendment has a preamble about the need for a militia … Historically, the new government had no money to pay for an army, so they relied on the state militias. And the states required men to have certain weapons and they specified in the law what weapons these people had to keep in their home so that when they were called to do service as militiamen, they would have them. That was the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.”

Then she said:¬†“When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function, its function is to enable the young nation to have people who will fight for it to have weapons that those soldiers will own. So I view the Second Amendment as rooted in the time totally allied to the need to support a militia. So … the Second Amendment is outdated in the sense that its function has become obsolete.”

She said more in an interview:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/second-amendment-outdated-justice-ginsburg-says/

I’m wondering about Justice Ginsburg’s argument on the Second Amendment.

If what she says is true, that¬†the amendment¬†“has become obsolete,” is she making a “strict constructionist” argument for interpreting the U.S. Constitution?

Your thoughts?

In defense of police work

Police officers are taking a beating these days.

Not by everyone, mind you, but by some who at times seem to imply that they believe police officers generally are a trigger-happy bunch too willing to pull their guns out and shoot someone.

I feel compelled to revisit a course I once took courtesy of the Amarillo Police Department.

A few years ago, APD officials invited some media folks to its simulated training center for a little practical training on how and when to fire a pistol at someone committing a crime.

Do you shoot or not shoot? That was the question we had to answer to ourselves in a split second while undergoing a simulated criminal act. In the dark. With little warning of what was about to happen.

We were armed with guns that shot paint balls. If you got hit with one of these pellets, well, it smarted some.

We were dressed with some protective gear, given the scenario we were about to visit, then turned loose into a room, or a hallway to confront someone — portrayed by an Amarillo police officer — who is committing a simulated “crime.”

Shoot or don’t shoot?

I have to admit something right here: I didn’t do well on all the scenarios with which I was presented. In once instance, I “shot” someone who was running away from me. I wasn’t supposed to shoot in that case. The training officers all laughed out loud at me; I laughed back … with considerable embarrassment.

One of the things I learned from the training exercise, though, was how one’s adrenalin rushes through one’s body. My own body was trembling with anticipation as I entered¬†each scenario — and I knew I was shooting paint balls, not real bullets.

When it was over, I tried to imagine how my adrenal glands would have reacted had I been an on-duty cop, packing a 9-mm pistol, confronting a bad guy and then having to decide in a split second whether to shoot him or let him go.

My sweat-soaked body betrayed the nerves that got the better of me.

Law enforcement does have bad police officers who make poor decisions. They usually are called out by witnesses, the media and even at times fellow officers. The rest of them — most of them — do their jobs well.

Those are the men and women who deserve our thanks.

 

'Originalist' view is mistaken

Count me as among those who acknowledge that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is brilliant.

The man knows the law. Does he know the U.S. Constitution? Well, sure he does. He was selected by President Reagan in 1986 to interpret the nation’s founding document and he’s still on the job.

OK, I’ve acknowledged the obvious.

Now I wish to take issue with his view that the document isn’t a living one that should adapt to change in society.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/antonin-scalia-says-constitution-permits-court-to-favor-religion-over-non-religion/ar-BB75vV4

Scalia said recently that it’s OK for the courts to favor religion over non-religion. He said the founders were religious men who meant for God to play a role in government. He said the Constitution guarantees “freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”

We’re fine, so far.

Then he said he prefers to look at the Constitution in its original form, as the drafters of it intended — in the 18th century.

He doesn’t like the “living Constitution” view, saying that only “idiots” believe such a thing.

Well.

Can’t the Constitution be adapted to the present day while preserving the principles laid out by the nation’s founders? Sure it can. The Second Amendment, the awkwardly written passage that guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms,” is an example.

Could the framers have envisioned the type of weaponry that has been developed since the Second Amendment was drafted and ratified? Could they have foreseen assault weapons that can kill, oh, 10 or so individuals in a matter of a few seconds? I’m betting they didn’t sit around and wonder: “All right, gentlemen, before we finalize this amendment, should we set aside a provision for the time when gang members will outgun the police on city streets teeming with drugs?” No, they couldn’t predict the future.

But the future has arrived and the “next future” is right around the corner. It’s left, then, for those who live in the here and now to wonder if the Constitution — as written — still is relevant to today’s circumstance.

It isn’t in some instances.

I still honor and respect Justice Scalia’s intellect and knowledge. I just dispute his interpretation of what he knows so well.