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Thread: Dallas Morning Star Columnist admits OC probably no risk to public safety

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    Jacquielynn Floyd


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    Don't go off half-cocked regarding 'open-carry' law for guns

    03:25 PM CST on Monday, December 1, 2008


    The push for a new "open-carry" law in Texas officially launches Tuesday. Brace yourself for a gun fight, coming to a radio station near you in a peppy "We don't hide our colors, do we?" ad campaign.

    It would be heresy – on both sides of this contentious debate – to suggest that allowing duly licensed handgun owners in the Lone Star State to openly display their sidearms probably wouldn't make an appreciable difference in life as we now know it.

    People won't be much more likely than they already are to shoot each other over 11 items in the 10-or-less supermarket express line, as those who favor gun limitations may be relied upon to predict.


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    Gun group pushing for open-carry law in Texas

    On the other hand, we're not going to make crime evaporate by visibly packing heat, as the gun lobbies so wishfully expect. They love to talk about the deterrent effect of guns-for-the-good-guys, but if criminals were really that risk-averse, they'd be in a different line of work.

    Because my immediate family includes a fair number of responsible and well-trained gun owners, I don't harbor a particular dread at the very idea of firearms.

    And statistics suggest that Texas' decade-old law allowing residents to carry concealed weapons did not lead to mayhem. Department of Public Safety records of conviction rates for handgun license holders show that in 2006 – the last available accounting year – legal gun owners were accountable for barely two-tenths of a percent of all felony convictions.

    Moreover, Texas is one of few states that doesn't allow legal gun owners to carry them openly. Some states require people with guns to carry them where everybody can see them.

    So when you get right down to it, as a matter of safety and practicality, open-carry probably isn't a dramatic departure from what Texas law already permits.

    But debates on American gun ownership are as much – maybe more – about emotion and politics as they are about safety and practicality.

    In our culture, a gun makes a political statement that a fire extinguisher or a pointed stick does not – and I don't know if I want to sit down to eat pancakes or board a public bus surrounded by people with that particular statement openly displayed on their belts.

    Ian McCarthy, the Central Texas man who started an online petition last year to push for an open-carry law, told a public radio station in August: "It's kind of sad that people are so afraid of guns."

    Why? People ought to have a little healthy fear of guns – they can kill you!

    I don't think the cops ought to be able to kick down the door and take them away from you.

    But I don't think they ought to be viewed as a standard piece of equipment, a handy tool like nail clippers to tuck in everybody's Christmas stocking, either.

    And, frankly, the idea that a gun is like those little fold-up pliers you might need at a tailgate party or a picnic seems creepy and paranoid.

    It is understandable that someone who has endured a crime that a gun might have deterred may feel strongly on this issue. Former state Rep. Suzanna Hupp, who witnessed her parents' murder by a deranged gunman in a Killeen cafeteria, is a strong proponent of open-carry laws.

    It's the people who obsess over, and even eagerly anticipate these situations, who give pause. Most of us, thank God, will never face such a situation.

    Most of us, thank God, will never experience a life-or-death need for a gun.

    So choosing to own one, to carry it around, to display it openly (should the law allow) are not decisions to be taken lightly.

    It's not about "standing up to criminals" or not "hiding our colors."

    It's about using our heads.

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    This isa very good opinion article. While generally balanced, if anything, it was pro-open carry. She noted that Texas is one of the few states not to allow it, that it likely wouldn't be a safety issue given the track record of CHL holders (though she seemed to assume licensed open carry), and for other un-named practical reasons it wouldn't be much different than current law.

    She rightly notes that gun carrying in general and openly displaying them in particular is something to be carefully thought out. Those of us here at OCDO can hardly disagree since best practices include having a voice recorder, knowing the law VERY well, memorizing "am I being detained?", having a lawyer's card handy, etc.

    Here you have a woman columnist at a major US newspaper looking at the issue and coming to the conclusion that while she isn't necessarily in favor of it from a "fashion accessory" perspective, she agrees that it will probably not change life in Texas much (negatively). In fact, I think her piece title accurately describes her main point: don't be emotional on either side of the argument. Logically, open carry won't be major change but don't let either side get carried away with hyperbole (11 items in the 10-item-line vs. crime will surely go down due to open carry).

    Given the state of the media today, I'll take this. I'd call her indifferent to it -- she is OK, pass or fail. This is a victory and should be classified as such.

    I'm getting the sense that LICENSED open carry might actually have a good shot (pardon the pun) this year particularly now that we know that Governor Perry would sign the bill. I never doubted that he would but it is nice to see it publically stated. The Legislature and Governor's mansion is as good for us now as it is likely to be as R's are losing seats. Let's make this session count! :celebrate

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    From what I have read about the TX concealed carry law, and not even being allowed to "print," the biggest boon I can see from open carry legislation (aside from the obvious) would be the "inbetween" carry, e.g. OWB holster with an untucked shirt on top. The gun is concealed for the most part, but may "peek" out occasionally.

    With current TX laws, it sounds like that is a BIG nono, where with allowed open carry, this becomes (from a legal stand point anyway) a non-issue.

    Just another angle to look at it from.

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    squisher wrote:
    From what I have read about the TX concealed carry law, and not even being allowed to "print," the biggest boon I can see from open carry legislation (aside from the obvious) would be the "inbetween" carry, e.g. OWB holster with an untucked shirt on top. The gun is concealed for the most part, but may "peek" out occasionally.

    With current TX laws, it sounds like that is a BIG nono, where with allowed open carry, this becomes (from a legal stand point anyway) a non-issue.

    Just another angle to look at it from.
    I agree with your general point but we need to be precise and some of the discussion has given you a false impression (no pun intended). "Printing", i.e. the UNINTENTIONAL pseudo-display of your gun or its outline is NOT illegal under current Texas law. Even the UNINTENTIONAL full display of your gun (like when the wind blows your jacket open and momentarily reveals your sidearm) is not illegal. While this may prompt a man-with-a-gun call if seen by an anti, you must INTENTIONALLY fail to conceal your firearm to violate the law. I would imagine that this is most likely to happen if you draw or produce your weapon clearly under circumstances that do not warrant it.

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    Interesting read.

    Her line about being afraid of guns because they can kill you does make me laugh though. Almost everything we are exposed to every day has the ability to kill you.

    I do not fear baseball bats, ice picks, butcher knives, matches, food, icy sidewalks, cars, rope, pantyhose, axes, hammers, vending machines.pillows, clothesline cord, shovels, bar stools, fists, or any number of things that COULD kill me if used/misused in the right way.

    I am not afraid of guns. I am afraid of crazy violent people - no matter what weapon they choose to employ.



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    SA-TX wrote:
    squisher wrote:
    From what I have read about the TX concealed carry law, and not even being allowed to "print," the biggest boon I can see from open carry legislation (aside from the obvious) would be the "inbetween" carry, e.g. OWB holster with an untucked shirt on top. The gun is concealed for the most part, but may "peek" out occasionally.

    With current TX laws, it sounds like that is a BIG nono, where with allowed open carry, this becomes (from a legal stand point anyway) a non-issue.

    Just another angle to look at it from.
    I agree with your general point but we need to be precise and some of the discussion has given you a false impression (no pun intended). "Printing", i.e. the UNINTENTIONAL pseudo-display of your gun or its outline is NOT illegal under current Texas law. Even the UNINTENTIONAL full display of your gun (like when the wind blows your jacket open and momentarily reveals your sidearm) is not illegal. While this may prompt a man-with-a-gun call if seen by an anti, you must INTENTIONALLY fail to conceal your firearm to violate the law. I would imagine that this is most likely to happen if you draw or produce your weapon clearly under circumstances that do not warrant it.
    That makes a little more sense then.

    Not sure how I got the other impression? Maybe it was just seeing/reading/hearing stories about how folks got hassled for unintentional reveal, and seeing non-attorney opinions an interpretations from people who live there, and since I don't live there I never really verified it.

    Still, getting it legalized so you can choose to OC if you want to is good.

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    As we do with any bad uninformed or uneducated news article, we need to send e-mails. This time saying thanks.It may spur a more in depth article in our favor.

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    mrrga25 wrote:
    As we do with any bad uninformed or uneducated news article, we need to send e-mails. This time saying thanks.It may spur a more in depth article in our favor.
    BUT,,, and this is a big one, she needs to be reminded that GUNS in and of themselves do NOT kill people, in the hands of the wrong people, a dang fork can kill someone.
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Thomas Jefferson

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    KansasMustang wrote:
    mrrga25 wrote:
    As we do with any bad uninformed or uneducated news article, we need to send e-mails. This time saying thanks.It may spur a more in depth article in our favor.
    BUT,,, and this is a big one, she needs to be reminded that GUNS in and of themselves do NOT kill people, in the hands of the wrong people, a dang fork can kill someone.
    I wouldn't necessarily say in the hands of the "wrong people". Afterall, you've got folks who know good and well how to handle a firearm, and use them for their jobs, yet they neglected to observe one or more of the 4 Rules and end up injuring/killing themselves or someone around them.

    A tool is a tool and any can kill through neglectful use. You can't really say she's wrong for saying guns can kill. They can. As you said, even fork can.

    I don't know. I'm wondering about getting into the semantics of one line of the article when it's tone is as supportive and reasonable as it is.

    I did send her an email days ago thanking her for her perspective.

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    KansasMustang wrote:
    mrrga25 wrote:
    As we do with any bad uninformed or uneducated news article, we need to send e-mails. This time saying thanks.It may spur a more in depth article in our favor.
    BUT,,, and this is a big one, she needs to be reminded that GUNS in and of themselves do NOT kill people, in the hands of the wrong people, a dang fork can kill someone.
    True they in their self do not kill people and I think by her article she should have replaced fear with respect. I just applaud her for using common sense over political affiliation.

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    mrrga25 wrote:
    As we do with any bad uninformed or uneducated news article, we need to send e-mails. This time saying thanks.It may spur a more in depth article in our favor.
    I sent her a letter letting her know it's nice to see an article that was not so obviously biased.

    I did mention that there are many things in this world that can kill if used the wrong way or with malice. Guns are not the boogeyman.

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    It's all good fella's. Since I don't live in TX, I will not respond to her article. But as you said she did not come off as biased, except to me in that one area. And as you said, yes guns even in the hands of the right people do kill, but as we all know it takes a human finger pulling the trigger, and that human has to use all the concepts of what we believe in. If one has never taken a human life, even in self defense, the man/woman of conscience will have to live with that the rest of their life. Again as has been stated this gal at least came out as unbiased.
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Thomas Jefferson

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    Miracle wrote:
    Interesting read.

    Her line about being afraid of guns because they can kill you does make me laugh though. Almost everything we are exposed to every day has the ability to kill you.

    I do not fear baseball bats, ice picks, butcher knives, matches, food, icy sidewalks, cars, rope, pantyhose, axes, hammers, vending machines.pillows, clothesline cord, shovels, bar stools, fists, or any number of things that COULD kill me if used/misused in the right way.

    I am not afraid of guns. I am afraid of crazy violent people - no matter what weapon they choose to employ.

    +1000
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    Shorts wrote:
    KansasMustang wrote:
    mrrga25 wrote:
    As we do with any bad uninformed or uneducated news article, we need to send e-mails. This time saying thanks.It may spur a more in depth article in our favor.
    BUT,,, and this is a big one, she needs to be reminded that GUNS in and of themselves do NOT kill people, in the hands of the wrong people, a dang fork can kill someone.
    I wouldn't necessarily say in the hands of the "wrong people". Afterall, you've got folks who know good and well how to handle a firearm, and use them for their jobs, yet they neglected to observe one or more of the 4 Rules and end up injuring/killing themselves or someone around them.

    A tool is a tool and any can kill through neglectful use. You can't really say she's wrong for saying guns can kill. They can. As you said, even fork can.

    I don't know. I'm wondering about getting into the semantics of one line of the article when it's tone is as supportive and reasonable as it is.

    I did send her an email days ago thanking her for her perspective.
    No,,Shorts, guns in and of themselves could never kill anything, like I SAIDMy Ruger 44 mag has been loaded on my nightstand for the past 21 years, it has never even fired without my finger on the trigger. Guns are inanimate objects, people animate them. And I animate mine with objectivity and good sense. A criminal will use it for bad and that's WHAT I meant, comprendez? Guns are no scarier to most sane peole than a double headed axe. But put a gun or a doubled headed axe in the hands of a criminal and with either you're just as dead.
    I didn't say she wasn't reasonable, but she did use a lot of the same semantics as the anti-gunners. like the line:
    And I don't know if I want to sit down and eat pancakes or board a public bus sorrounded by people with that particular statement strapped to their hips.
    Why not? I've sat in many a truck stop with LEO's with weapons strapped on their hips, never even blinked matter of fact talked to them about their weapons. But I digress.
    Trouble is, most people are afraid of guns truth, however, when they see that it can be a deterrent then maybe, just maybe some of that fear will disappear
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Thomas Jefferson

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    KansasMustang wrote:
    I wouldn't necessarily say in the hands of the "wrong people". Afterall, you've got folks who know good and well how to handle a firearm, and use them for their jobs, yet they neglected to observe one or more of the 4 Rules and end up injuring/killing themselves or someone around them.

    A tool is a tool and any can kill through neglectful use. You can't really say she's wrong for saying guns can kill. They can. As you said, even fork can.

    I don't know. I'm wondering about getting into the semantics of one line of the article when it's tone is as supportive and reasonable as it is.

    I did send her an email days ago thanking her for her perspective.
    No,,Shorts, guns in and of themselves could never kill anything, like I SAIDMy Ruger 44 mag has been loaded on my nightstand for the past 21 years, it has never even fired without my finger on the trigger. Guns are inanimate objects, people animate them. And I animate mine with objectivity and good sense. A criminal will use it for bad and that's WHAT I meant, comprendez? Guns are no scarier to most sane peole than a double headed axe. But put a gun or a doubled headed axe in the hands of a criminal and with either you're just as dead.
    I didn't say she wasn't reasonable, but she did use a lot of the same semantics as the anti-gunners. like the line:
    And I don't know if I want to sit down and eat pancakes or board a public bus sorrounded by people with that particular statement strapped to their hips.
    Why not? I've sat in many a truck stop with LEO's with weapons strapped on their hips, never even blinked matter of fact talked to them about their weapons. But I digress.
    Trouble is, most people are afraid of guns truth, however, when they see that it can be a deterrent then maybe, just maybe some of that fear will disappear
    Relax, I know the whole "guns just don't go off" thing. I am a gun owner and I carry - no need to talk down. My reply was to "in the hands of the WRONG people". It was tongue in cheek (in regards to the recent police chief shooting his leg, reminds me of "I'm the only on professional enough..."). Even in the hands of "the right" people, if disregarding any of the 4, a gun will kill. That's reality. If it wasn't we would observe The 4. Again, keep your socks on.

    Can someone with ill intentions use a firearm on someone else? Absolutely. But so can any person who neglects The 4.

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