I am on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and recently returned from our winter, 2013 meetings. It comes as no surprise that the Obama administration’s predictable and despicable response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a major topic of discussion. The information revealed during these meetings makes it abundantly clear that Americans are not facing merely a legislative battle, but a war on our very culture and way of life.
For decades, there have been numerous attacks on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American gun owners. These attacks are always based on lies and the false claim that by giving up one’s constitutional right they will be safer. History and experience prove that these allegations are false, yet those who would deprive American citizens of the right to possess and carry firearms for all lawful purposes are not deterred. Apparently, they ascribe to the theory that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.
The current assault on the rights of American gun owners is like nothing seen before. The combined efforts of President Obama, multi-billionaires Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, Hollywood media moguls, MoveOn.org and numerous other liberal anti-gun organizations have coalesced in an effort to deprive law-abiding Americans of the ability to possess and use firearms for self-defense as well as other lawful purposes. The money available to this Obama-Bloomberg Coalition is virtually limitless. Michael Bloomberg was recently asked how much he was planning to spend in an effort to deprive Americans of their Second Amendment rights. His response was, “Oh, I don’t know, I spent between $600 million and $700 million trying to stop kids from using tobacco products.” Bloomberg’s wealth is estimated between $18 – $20 billion, so he could easily afford to spend several hundred million dollars trying to deprive Americans of the right to self-defense. Coupled his wealth with that of George Soros, MoveOn.org supporters as well as Hollywood liberals, and it is clear that law-abiding Americans are facing the biggest challenge to their constitutional rights since the British tried to force us to keep flying the Union Jack.
History of Concealed Handgun Licensees in Texas
The time has come for the Texas legislature to reduce the number of locations that are “off-limits” to holders of a Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL). At the time Senate Bill 60 passed in 1995, it was considered by some as both a revolutionary and radical concept. This opinion was even by some of the Bill’s supporters in the Texas Legislature. Due to this uncertainty, SB 60 contained many provisions that were ultimately determined to be unnecessary. These provisions included the designation of various locations as being off-limits to CHL’s carrying self-defense handguns.
The media-created hysteria that followed the passage of Texas’ first CHL’s statute in 1995 resulted in thousands of Texas businesses posting generic “no guns” decals. Typically, they were either 2“X2” or 3”X3” clear decals placed on the lower corner of the business’ door. The decals were easily missed by a CHL holder meaning they would unwittingly enter posted property.
The mass murder of twenty first grade children and six adults in Newtown Connecticut was a tragedy beyond comprehension. Unfortunately, the news media is unintentionally increasing the odds that a copycat mass murderer will duplicate the massacre in another school. Since the Newtown shootings on Friday, December 15, 2012, at least three people have been arrested for threatening to enter schools and kill students and faculty. How many more are watching the unending television coverage of this event and dreaming of their “15 minutes of fame?”
Let me say up front that I am not a mental health professional. However, as an attorney for many years and as a former police officer, I have dealt with numerous mentally unstable people. A shared belief with a large percentage of these people is that society, or some identifiable segment thereof, has treated them unfairly. The majority of these folks did not exhibit any tendency towards violence or revenge, but a few made it clear that they felt some form of retribution was an order, even though they stopped short of making actual threats. The bitterness and antisocial behavior seems to be more prominent in people who feel they are ignored or belittled by the society they have come to fear or despise.
If you were to stop ten people on the streets of most cities and towns in Texas and ask them how they feel about “open-carry” the vast majority of them would have no idea what you are asking. Some would probably think you were talking about walking down the street with an open beer in your hand, relating it in their mind to the Texas law against having open containers in a motor vehicle. “Open-carry” for purposes of this article refers to legally carrying a self-defense handgun in a holster that it is not concealed from public view.
A significant percentage of Texas residents believe that open-carry is currently legal in Texas, but they are mistaken, except in a few locations. One can openly carry a handgun on their own property, while engaging in sporting activities in which handguns are commonly used (ex. hunting and shooting matches), and in their place of business or employment under certain circumstances.
A bill has been prefiled for the 2013 Texas legislative session that seeks to reduce the minimum required class hours to obtain a Texas Concealed Handgun License (“CHL”) for the first time. Current law requires these initial classes to be at least ten hours and no more than fifteen hours long. Renewal classes must be between four hours and six hours long. Both the four hour and ten hour minimums include the time spent on the range for the shooting portion of the class.
If it passes, HB 47 will reduce the class time for an initial license to four hours, excluding the time spent on the range. Public support for this change seems to be strong and as of the writing of this article, there seems to be no significant opposition in the Texas legislature. Few people have spoken against the change and their opposition is unwarranted.