class="CH1"I had to give up my rights
I recently retired as a contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency. As a native Texan, I am very happy to be back home. As a holder of a top secret clearance I swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. As a contractor and earlier an employee of the federal government I could not act politically to defend the constitution save only to vote.
I can now act politically to defend my beloved Constitution and its Bill of Rights. For the past 20 years I have lived in northern Virginia. Virginia is one of the original 13 colonies and the home of many of the framers of the Bill of Rights. Recently the Supreme Court of the United States reaffirmed the second amendment as an individual right.
The original intent of the Bill of Rights was to affirm rights granted by God and “shall not be infringed” by government, free speech, the right to assemble, redress of grievances, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms among the first and second amendments.
Yet upon my return to Texas I had to give up one of those rights. I could no longer openly carry my pistol on my hip as I could in Virginia. Oddly enough my beloved state of Texas is one of only six of the 50 states that outlaws open carry (OC). In Virginia to OC your pistol no license is required, not for any constitutional right. Moreover, in the USA not being able to OC is odd, unnatural and completely unconstitutional. The normal in 44 states is open carry.
Why is concealed carry regulated in all those states? Normally criminals hide their guns. Restoration of our constitutionally protected natural rights is foremost in my efforts to carry out my oath now that I am home.
The Texas Constitution is in violation of the US constitution as it gives the Texas legislature power it does not legally have over the people. That is the power to restrict the bearing of arms. Right now you can only bear or carry your pistol if: you are on your own land or in your car or if you pay the state for the right to hide it under your clothes like a criminal. If you can’t afford the class, the fees and the tax then you have no right to protect yourself outside your car or home. Your right to bear arms seems to be infringed. Unlicensed OC of pistols is the next logical step in regaining our massively infringed upon second Amendment right to keep and bear arms here in Texas. The most recent argument I’ve heard against open carry is that folks want to open carry to show off fancy guns and leatherwork. When did showing off become unseemly in Texas?
Another argument I’ve heard is you lose your tactical advantage. Tactics is not the point. The point is: rights deigned unjustly by outmoded laws need to be changed. The prohibition against open carry is from the period following the Civil War, to prevent newly freed slaves from lawfully wearing side arms and defending themselves. Now the law seems aimed at just the poor or the hardworking who cannot afford the tax and fees or the time for classes. Of course the same silly arguments used against concealed carry will be dragged out and rehashed by the usual suspects such as: shootings in the streets or road rage gunfights. These dire consequences will not happen just as they do not happen in the 44 states that allow open carry.
It is time for Texas to restore our rights as US citizens to keep and bear arms openly. I ask all citizens of Texas to sign the on-line petition at www.opencarry.org. Join nearly 50,000 other Texans and send the 2009 Texas legislature your message of rights restoration. Gov. Rick Perry has already indicated his willingness to sign such a law into existence.
Remember when seconds count the police are only minutes away.
Ellis L. Knox
Lake Bob Sandlin