Another legislative session is upon us beginning next year and while there will no doubt be plenty on the schedule, one of the issues that gun rights activist care about is getting Constitutional Carry enacted. Texas has the reputation of being the most gun friendly State, but unfortunately this is only hype.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is a national gun control organization of which everyone should be well aware. Their namesake is shared by the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act of 1993, the bill that instituted federal background checks for every firearm purchase. Every year, they rank all 50 States according to how friendly they are to the 2nd Amendment. Given our reputation, most Americans would believe that Texans would pride themselves at being at the top of that list, and if it were true, we would undoubtedly fly that flag proudly.
Unfortunately, Texas is not standing out anywhere near the top. According to the Brady Campaign's 2015 scorecard, Texas shockingly doesn't even make the top 25. Sadly, we come in an embarrassing 30th place on one of the most powerful anti-2nd Amendment organization's list. This begs the question: what can we do to fix this and reign supreme as being the most gun friendly State in the Union?
The answer is simple: follow Arizona's lead, then take over. The Copper State's gun laws are almost a dream come true for anyone passionate about the 2nd Amendment. While they do issue Concealed Carry Permits, a person is not required to obtain one in order to exercise their right to carry, either concealed or openly. Arizonans often do get the permit for the sole benefit of reciprocity, but the fact that it is not required to carry is the very definition of Constitutional Carry. The mentality is that the 2nd Amendment IS our carry permit and that we shouldn't need permission from the government to exercise our God-given right to protect ourselves, our families, our neighbors, or anyone else.
While it is not a hugely difficult task to obtain an LTC in Texas, it does take time and money to obtain, both of which infringe upon the 2nd Amendment. In the latter clause, the 2nd Amendment says "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," (emphasis added). This means that the latter half of Article I, Section 23 of the Texas Constitution, which states "the Legislature shall have the power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime," is a direct violation of the 2nd Amendment. But isn't deterring crime a good thing? Absolutely, but not at the cost of the State stealing your rights and selling them back to you. The very reason it is called Constitutional Carry is because anything else is unconstitutional.
The Legislature also needs to eliminate all mandatory gun-free zones in the State by repealing all of Texas Penal Code, Sections 46.03 and 46.035. This includes schools, amusement parks, court rooms, polling locations, places of worship, and 51% Establishments. The Orlando nightclub massacre took place in what Texas would define as a 51% Establishment where 51% of revenues are generated from the sale of alcohol. That did nothing to prevent the shooter from murdering 49 people and injuring 53 others. Many people can go to bars and nightclubs without drinking and they would be more inclined to do so if they were carrying, since it is already illegal to carry while intoxicated. If Texas really cared about the 2nd Amendment and the right of Texans to defend themselves and others, then there should be zero inhibitors for any Texas citizen to carry. The only exception is that private property owners should have the right to make ill-advised decisions like banning the carry of firearms into their businesses.
In the early 1990's, left-wing groups said that if concealed carry passed in Texas, there would be shootouts in the streets daily and we would go back to the days of the wild west. Last session, they said the same thing about open carry and campus carry. None of these "predictions" have come to pass despite the number of LTC's issued having skyrocketed to record levels. The State of Texas needs to relinquish their unconstitutional authority to license the carry of firearms and return it to Texans who are old enough to make decisions for themselves. We have the right to keep and bear arms. Period. There is no asterisk or footnote that says "provided that Big Brother gives you permission to do so."