Many of y'all may remember back in 1995 when then-Senator Jerry Patterson (R-11) fought for making Texas join 26 other States as "shall-issue" for concealed handgun licenses. That was a big step for Texas because prior to September 1 of that year, Texas was a "no-issue" State. Even California and New York at the time were more gun friendly than Texas with their "may-issue" statuses. The fact that Texas was almost completely controlled by Democrats at the time makes this even more of a feat. The House was 87-63 Democrat, the Senate was 17-14 Democrat, and even the Lt. Gov. was Democrat Bob Bullock. The only offices that Republicans controlled were Governor by George W. Bush, Agriculture Commissioner by Rick Perry, and Railroad Commissioner by Carole Keeton (Strayhorn).
Back then, the hardcore leftists were crying that it would be the days of the Wild West again and that Texas would go back to dueling in the streets at high-noon. These critics, though, were overshadowed by the Luby's massacre of 1991 that killed 23 and injured 27 more. The 73rd Session of 1993 had CHL bills filed, but they died in committee. (This story sounds SO familiar!) Patterson's bill (SB60) was successful passing the Senate in March and the House in May. Then, on May 26th, 1995, Gov. George W. Bush signed concealed carry into law and allowed Texans the right to carry firearms in the lawful defense of themselves or others; provided they register with the State.
Fast forward to last session where open carry and campus carry where the highlights. The same media raved that open carry would see the return of the wild west. Yet, nothing has changed. No one is dueling on Main Street at noon, nor is anyone stiff arming patrons at the local Kroger over the last tub of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla. Now, the concern is that bad guys will carry guns if we pass Constitutional Carry.
On October 16, 1991, it was illegal in Texas to carry a firearm on your person. There were exactly zero CHL's issued by the State of Texas when George Hennard walked into the Killeen Luby's and carried out the 4th deadliest massacre in U.S. history by a single shooter. Not only did the "no-issue" law not prevent the attack, but neither did laws against First Degree Murder, Attempted Murder, Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Restraint, Criminal Trespass, or Discharging a Firearm in a Municipality. Simply put, criminals do not follow laws. It is already illegal to kill, assault, or intimidate someone with the threat of violence, and requiring a permit to carry does not alleviate that.
Furthermore, Constitutional Carry of long guns is already legal in Texas! No permit is required to carry a shotgun or rifle on your person and you can legally do it at 18 years old. Yet, you don't see criminals carrying around long guns on a daily basis. The act of carrying should never be an offense. If someone is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearm, a law requiring a license to carry won't prevent them from carrying it. (Side note: my personal feelings on the matter are that if someone has paid their debts to society for past mistakes, no matter what they are, then they should have their rights restored in full, but I digress). Plus, eleven other States already have Constitutional Carry! They don't have ANY problems with it!
There are still plenty of benefits to having an LTC. For one, there is a separate line for you at the Capitol Building. You also do not undergo an NICS check when you buy another firearm because the State has cleared you already. Finally, you can carry out of State because of reciprocity. We don't oppose the LTC program, nor do we oppose Lt. Gov. Patrick's proposed bill to eliminate the costs. We WANT those bills, but not at the expense of Constitutional Carry. Constitutional Carry is our prime objective and under no circumstances will we settle for less.
Now is the time for the alleged pro-gun Legislators to pass truly pro-gun bills. We are tired of the unneeded baby steps approach. The year is not 1995 anymore. We have a Republican supermajority in both houses! Make your voice heard on this! Sign our Constitutional Carry Petition, Like us on Facebook, Share our posts, and let your Legislators know how you feel! It's our right to keep and bear arms! Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.