U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- When Texans start carrying sidearms in public Sept. 1—thanks to passage of Senate Bill 1927 earlier this year—they won’t be able to celebrate the fact as part of the would-have-been festivities in Houston over the Labor Day weekend when the National Rifle Association was to gather for its landmark 150th-anniversary members’ meetings and exhibits. NRA canceled the event, citing concerns over COVID-19.
According to Houston Public Media, “permitless carry remains controversial.” Even some firearms instructors opposed it, while Republican state lawmakers “were largely united in support of the bill,” the story said. Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, told Houston Public Media, “I think it will mean more handguns in public. And data show us time after time after time that guns don’t make us safer.”
Switzer may have to walk that back a bit in the wake of an incident in San Antonio last week in which an unidentified armed citizen intervened in what could have been a violent attack on top of a tragedy. A female bicyclist was struck by a car and killed when she reportedly ignored a red light. The driver of the car was taking his children to school, according to KSAT news. The woman’s boyfriend, riding behind her, reportedly pulled a machete on the driver, but a second motorist drew his sidearm “in an effort to diffuse the situation,” according to Fox News.
It was not explained why the boyfriend was carrying a machete while riding a bicycle, but the armed citizen’s presence apparently prevented a bloody confrontation.
There are some interesting reader reactions to the KSAT report on the accident. One reader, identified as “Matthew 28:5-6” observed, “There could have been 2 dead bodies. Looks like a good guy with the gun prevented another death. Still very sad the lady lost her life because she disregarded the traffic light. And for those of you who are gun critics, that could have been your husband or brother, who got to go home because someone had the courage to intervene and defend a 3rd party. Not to mention there were children in the vehicle, who were also in danger. Cheers to the unknown hero.”
There are concerns about the absence of required training for people who choose to carry without a permit. As noted by Houston Public Media, the class required for obtaining a license to carry covers basic gun laws and “conflict resolution.” There is also material on safe gun storage and applicants must demonstrate “basic shooting proficiency.”
It is ironic, then, that the new law kicks in just days before the now-canceled NRA gathering was to have begun in Houston. NRA was involved in getting the legislation through the Texas Legislature in Austin. With all of the association’s problems of late, the new permitless carry law could have been something to celebrate.
Earlier this month, the Texas Tribune posted the results of a poll it did along with the University of Texas that shows 59 percent of the state’s voters oppose permitless carry, while 56 percent of Republicans support it. Eighty-five percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Independents oppose the idea.
But some observations by Ray Hunt, executive director of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, acknowledged to the Texas Tribune that concerns about the open carry law adopted in 2016 never materialized. As reported by the newspaper, “Law enforcement heavily condemned 2016’s ‘open carry’ law that permits Texans to openly carry handguns in public as long as they have a permit. Many said they didn’t end up seeing noticeable effects after it passed.”
Hunt told the newspaper something else. “We were completely opposed to ‘license to carry’ when it happened, and we said all of the same arguments that we’re saying now,” Hunt reportedly recalled. “And nothing happened, so we’re hoping that we’re overreacting. We’re just concerned because anytime there’s more guns, there’s a problem.”
While Hunt has acknowledged this, the gun prohibition lobby never seems to reach that point. Instead, anti-gunners just want more gun control laws.
Yet in Texas, as everywhere else, more restrictive gun control laws do not seem to prevent criminals from getting firearms and committing violent crimes. They just make it tougher for law-abiding citizens to exercise rights enumerated and protected by the Constitution.
About Dave Workman