On September 14, 2016, the Missouri Legislature made history by overriding Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of SB 656. As a result, on January 1, 2017, Missouri will join 10 other States and Puerto Rico in allowing Constitutional Carry of handguns and be true champions of the 2nd Amendment.
Since joining the United States in 1791, Vermont has had a constitutional provision declaring "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State – and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up..." This Article was upheld so strictly by the Vermont Supreme Court in the 1903 case, State v. Rosenthal, that the court ordered that any law or ordinance "prohibiting a person from carrying... any weapon concealed on his person, without permission of the mayor or chief of police... is repugnant to the Constitution, and to that extent void." It is because of this ruling that Vermont has been a prime example of gun rights in the United States.
In 2003, Alaska became the first State to join Vermont in allowing Constitutional Carry, and since then, several others have followed. Because of their population, Arizona is typically the most championed Constitutional Carry State since joining the ranks in 2010. Being home to the 6th largest city in the U.S., Arizona is prime evidence against the narrative that Constitutional Carry can only work in rural States like Alaska and Vermont.
Following Arizona, pressure began being put on State Legislatures to enact Constitutional Carry, and several have. Unfortunately, Texas has been waiting on the sidelines. It is almost as if legislators in Austin do not trust us to make decisions for ourselves and continue treating us like children. Constitutional Carry bills were filed in the 2015 Legislative Session (HB 195 and SB 342), but neither came out of their respective committees. Chairman of the State Affairs Committee, Sen. Joan Huffman (R-17), and Chairman of the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, Rep. Larry Phillips (R-62), each ensured that the bills never made it to the floor. It seems that the State of Texas, and specifically these two Legislators in particular, feel the need to infringe upon our right to keep and bear arms because they know what is best for us.
There is absolutely zero excuse for legislators to not pass Constitutional Carry next session. Gov. Abbott told Texans last year that he would sign whichever open carry bill made it to his desk, even if that was the Constitutional Carry bill. This begs the question, when will Texas step up and let us exercise our right to keep and bear arms without having to obtain a permission slip from them?
Many gun control groups cluck that this will be an avenue for crime, but they forget that criminal acts are already illegal. Forcing licensing from the State and the mandating of gun free zones are truly the catalysts for criminal behavior. There is nothing more appealing to an individual with malice in their heart than a bunch of soft targets that will offer zero resistance. Just take a look back at the recent mass shootings if you want proof of this.
What makes this whole thing so ridiculous is the fact that the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that their State's Constitutional wording was enough to invalidate all permit requirements, and yet the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is far more specific than Vermont's. Despite this specificity, the State of Texas feels that it is her obligation to grant permission to her citizens before they can exercise their rights. Imagine having to get a permit to ensure your right to due process or free speech. This is no different and the 85th Legislative Session is far beyond the time that Texas needs to renounce their unconstitutional authority and return our rights to us. There aren't daily shootouts in the streets in Idaho or West Virginia, the homicide rate hasn't skyrocketed in Arizona, and Vermont is not a haven of violent crime. Texas needs to step up in the 2017 session and reclaim our title as THE staple for gun rights in this country. Write and call your legislators until they can't ignore you anymore, sign our Constitutional Carry Petition, and make sure you Like, Comment, and Share! Let's make Texas Texas again.