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Thread: Texas legislators run for the hills from open carry grass roots activists

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    http://www.amarillo.com/stories/032909/new_news13.shtml

    Web-posted Sunday, March 29, 2009

    Austin looks at gun rules House weighs workplace law

    By Enrique Rangel
    enrique.rangel@morris.com
    AUSTIN - Last week the Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill that would allow Texans to take guns and ammunition to their workplace as long as they leave the weapons in their car - even if their bosses object.

    "Here in Texas people like their firearms," said Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, the author of the bill. "If they want to bring them to the workplace, they are going to do it whether there is a policy or not."

    Hegar's bill is now in the House, where it faces more scrutiny.
    There are several other gun-related bills this session, including one that would allow Texans with concealed-weapon licenses to carry their firearms on college campuses. Another would exempt the purchase of guns, rifles, shotguns and ammunition from the state sales tax during the last weekend of August.
    Both bills were filed by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.

    Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, the author of the Castle Doctrine law passed in 2007, filed the House companion to Wentworth's bill that would allow people with concealed gun licenses to carry their firearms on college campuses. The Castle Doctrine law allows Texans to use deadly force against a would-be attacker, be at home, at work or even in their car.

    But Wentworth and Driver know there are only so many gun-related bills that even a Second Amendment-friendly Texas Legislature has stomach for.
    One bill that no one in the Senate or the House dared to file was the so-called open-carry bill, which would have allowed Texans to wear their firearms in plain view, just like law enforcement officers in uniform do.

    "I just think that the law that we passed about 15 or 16 years ago for concealed-carry is working pretty well, and I don't see the need for an open-carry bill," Wentworth said.

    Wentworth's remarks were measured compared to some made by other legislators.
    "I see no point on open-carry," said Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, who has a concealed-weapon license. "I think it is publicly intimidating, (and) it has nothing to do with right to keep and bear arms. It has to do with common sense."
    "The open-carry? That is definitely the Wild West," said Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso. "I am not in big fan of that one."


    "It's crazy" added Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, another legislator with a concealed gun license. "How would you feel if you walked into a 7-Eleven at midnight and you saw a guy carrying a gun?"
    Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, who was considering filing the open-carry bill, said she heard similar comments even from some of her gun-rights colleagues and decided not to introduce the legislation.


    "This is not the time," Riddle said. "We have a lot of other issues this session, and this would have been a major distraction."
    Mike Stollenwerk, a former Texas resident and co-founder of a northern Virginia group which calls itself
    OpenCarry.org, said he is disappointed but not discouraged.
    "I am a glass half-full type of guy," Stollewerk said. "We didn't get it done this time, but we think we'll eventually get it done."


    But Stollenwerk and Ian McCarthy of Austin, who approached some legislators to file the open-carry bill, acknowledged that even in Texas, some legislators think there are already too many gun laws in the books.
    Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, has said he will oppose the legislation that would allow people with concealed weapon licenses to carry their firearms on college campuses.

    And Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, said the bill that would make the last weekend of August a tax holiday for anyone who buys guns, rifles, shotguns and ammunition is a bad idea. Even Seliger and Pickett oppose such legislation.
    "No, we don't need to exempt the purchase of guns and ammunition from sales taxes, like we do for families who buy clothes and shoes for their kids before they go back to school," Seliger said.

    Wentworth and Driver said they are not discouraged about the opposition to their bills.
    "When we passed the concealed-carry, we heard the same arguments," Driver said. "There were plenty of naysayers who said it would be a terrible law."


  2. #2
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    This is a handy article. It gives us adefinitive list of ignorant lawmakers who need to a) be reminded of who's boss, and b) voted out of office for the heinous crime of failing to serve the will of the people they purportedly represent.

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    Blkwdw86 wrote:
    This is a handy article. It gives us adefinitive list of ignorant lawmakers who need to a) be reminded of who's boss, and b) voted out of office for the heinous crime of failing to serve the will of the people they purportedly represent.
    +1

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    My comment:

    I'd like to clarify that opencarry.org is not a "northern Virginia group". It is a nationwide grassroots organization. Mike Stollenwerk happens to live in northern Virginia, but his co-founder John Pierce lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Regardless, the movement in Texas was driven by Texans, some 60,000 of whom signed the petition for legalized open carry, contacted their state reps, wrote letters, sent faxes, and made phone calls trying to get a bill introduced. We did so in an attempt to bring Texas in line with 44 other states where some form of open carry is legal.

    It's ironic that those who legally open carry in other states are sometimes met with an argument of, "What do you think this is, Texas?" Well, no... if it was, open carry wouldn't be legal. People throughout the country are often shocked to learn that Texas has such restrictive handgun laws. Carrying a handgun was illegal, period, from 1876 to 1996, and only the last 13 years have we seen any freedom to carry handguns -- but only if one spends approximately $250 for training and licensing, submits a stack of paperwork, and is approved by the government to get a license.

    It's unfortunate that such strong pro-gun Texas legislators as Jeff Wentworth and Joe Driver don't support open carry. It's frustrating to see Rep. Driver trot out the stereotypical "Wild West" argument; the "wild west" and its shootouts at high noon were a fictional creation of Hollywood. The actual, historical Old West had far lower crime rates than today.

    There are no shootouts, no blood running in the street, in New Mexico, Arizona, or Colorado as a result of legal open carry. No cases of open carriers being "the first one shot during a robbery!" in Louisiana or Virginia. Gun rights advocates in New Hampshire and Georgia perform "adopt-a-highway" trash pick-ups while openly carrying, and are thanked by passersby.

    It's time for Texas to step up to its pro-gun reputation and allow legal open carry.



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    Mike wrote:
    "It's crazy" added Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, another legislator with a concealed gun license. "How would you feel if you walked into a 7-Eleven at midnight and you saw a guy carrying a gun?"
    Holstered? Fine...why shouldn't I? Though...if he's going for the last bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, we might have a problem.

    Surprised to see so many strong, negative comments from TX legislators. Where do they think this is, CA?

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    Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo wrote:
    I see no point on open-carry," ... "I think it is publicly intimidating, (and) it has nothing to do with right to keep and bear arms. It has to do with common sense."
    WOW. :shock: Has this senator never heard of DC v. Heller?
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

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    Or of the conspiracy of ignorance, that masquerades as common sense?

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    Even in states whereOC is not "illegal" the practice is frequently met with resistance. The anti-firearm crusaders have been very successful in dumbing down the population.

    Standards of behavior have deteriorated to the point in our society that even "adults" act like unruly children in public. When our societyreflects the behavior one would expect to observe at some public junior high school during lunch hour -we shouldn't be surprised at the "alarm" expressed over the concept of publicly displayed holstered firearms.

    Like it or not many ignorant, misguided, or immature people are intimidated by the sight of a holstered sidearm even when worn by a nonthreatening, law-abiding person. We havealot of educating to do before the practice of OC receives general acceptance. That's why it is SOOO IMPORTANT that we who choose to OC approach the practice with full realization that we have a difficult selling job before us. The daily news reports of firearms in the hands of crazed mass murderers doesn't help our efforts a bit.

    I'm very dissapointed in the ignorance displayed by Texas legislators, but this is indicative of the problem.60,000 plus supporters of OC in Texas ? Surely that's enough candidates to replace the current office holders in Austin.

    OC of long-guns isn't going to fly in Texas either.The same ignorant mentality will present itself in that venue. Court challenges and replacing the anti-RKBA legislators is the path ahead. Meanwhile OC at every reasonable "legal" opportunity.

    BTW I'll be moving back to Texas pemanently soon - so I'll have the chance to practice what I preach.


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    IMO this justgoes tohighlight the need for education of our elected representatives in Austin and the public at large on the issue of OpenCarry in Texas specifically and the 2nd Amendment in general that permits it. This movement effectively has about a year and a half to get its act together better and get that educational work done if they wish to be successful next session.

    Imay be oblivious but from what I’ve seen so far the movement is for the most part being done by just a handful of activists and needs to be better organized and staffed. If there is a well coordinated and staffed effort I haven’t seen any evidence of it to date.


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    Honestly, I am appalled. I am originally from Massachusetts. I moved to this great state, (Texas) about 3 years ago because of family and employment opportunities, cost of living and the belief of a FREE life. Massachusetts is a far left, "liberal", (an oxymoron labelfor these people), staunch democrat state that is also generally anti second amendment. However, though you need a license, you can even open carry there! In order to conceal, you need an "advanced" license.

    I read here a Texas Legislator say, How would I feel if I saw a guy come in to a 7-eleven late at night strapped with a gun? I pose this response, at least I can see it and then prepare myself, as the clerk can too. The thing is, if you encourage legal citizens to conceal, well then nobody knows where the threat may come from because the criminals are going to conceal too. Now if you encourage everyone to carry openly then people can see and then there are fewer surprises. I am not against licenses what so ever. If our law enforcement are expertly train in reading facial expression, body language and such, that can help in sifting through the illegal carriers. Moreover, if everyone is open carry and the police have a right to ask to see your license at anytime, and it is made abundantly clear to the masses, then we know where the threats are NOT. Also if a criminal walks into that same 7-eleven late at night and sees a bunch of people carrying, they just might think twice about robbing it. Same with banks, etc.... This does require citizens to be properly trained and educated.

    I would also like to add a response to a "wild west" comment I read from rep Joe Picket-El Paso. I understand that the El Paso area is not in good shape and terribly crime ridden but, Texas is one of only six, yes 6 states that prohibits open carry of hand guns with or without license. Now I had lived in New England for over 30 yrs. I can tell you with 1000% accuracy that there is NOTHING "wild west" about New England and in fact I'll contend that if you add the crime per demographic in all 6 New England States that Texas has more crime and you can open carry in I believe EVERY one of New England States. Lastly, I pose this riddling fact/scenario; you can open carry a shotgun, rifle and/or assault rifle into that 7-eleven legally which has just as much if not a higher danger/damage potential than a hand gun, but you can't carry a hand gun. hmmmm. Seems a little ignorant to me.



    Gun control is the wrong idea. Crime control is where we must focus.

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    It seems that the core, or crux of resistance to OCstems from the issue of the "intimidation" factor. Intimidation being the product of "fear". Somehow we have arrived at apoint in our society where fear of others is the norm. This fear breeds unreasonable reaction to the presence of any additional factors that reinforce or ratchet up that fear.

    Only when it can be demonstrated that the presence of a weapon in the hands of the law-abiding citizen increases public safetywill this fear factor be overcome.

    The question has to be asked - would 8 people have died in the NC nursing home if even ONE nursing staffer had been armed ? If the madman had KNOWN that the staff members were armed - would he have targeted that location ? Further, how could the madman have known that armed staff were on duty unless the weapons were DISPLAYED openly ?

    Clearly the DETERRENT affect of OC cannot be denied because those who resist the practice - prove the point that people are influenced by the presence of a weapon.

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    Amen, Sandcreek. This is one of my points exactly. And I have to point out that one of the largest causes of fear is, has been, and always will be ignorance in the definition of the word. We in this country have been taught a couple, but not limited to, disturbing things. We have been taught to paranoid of each other. In addition, we have been re-wired per se to err on the side of how the few feel as opposed to how the many feel which is a cornerstone of our country's foundation. The needs of the MANY outweigh the needs of the FEW.

    I will also add here that should anyone at the nursing facility had been allowed to open carry, even if the incident still happened, at least there would have been a fighting chance, (pun intended), to prevent so much death of innocent people. It would have saved some of the lives I am sure.





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    I sadly admit my support forlegislative "licensing" of a RIGHT - BUT ....... I'm convinced that is where this is heading in TEXAS. The terror inflicted on our society by rampaging nutcases - or the "lowest common denominator principle" as I like to call it necessitates some method of CONTROL over the "free" excercise of this RIGHT.

    Therein individuals who cannot demonstrate the responsibility & maturity that must accompany the carrying of a deadly weaponwill be denied the free excercise of that right. Just as the Texas CHL program has produced a higher level of performance in the definition of "law-abiding", OC indorsement added to the CHLwill require exceptionally high citizenship and human relations skills.


    The CHL program in Texas (unlike Colorado), was founded on the principle of CONCEALMENT ONLY in "allowing for" the carry of a handgun in public. In Colorado the CHP program was focused on "allowing for" CONCEALED carry of a handgun which the holstered DISPLAY of was NOT ILLEGAL.

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    I see what you are saying Sandcreek. I have to reiterate the irony of the Massachusetts laws and society compared to Texas. We are one of the most pro gun states of the 50 in Texas.

    Massachusetts absolutely as a political machine anyway, leans on the side of anti-2nd Ammendment. We here in Texas MUST have at least the same freedom as they do in MA but do not. You can OC in MA with license. It is MORE difficult to get the CHL there as I understand it. Main reasoning is they want to encourage that if you are carrying, everyone knows it police, public et al.

    Though I'd rather not have licensing it may be a necessary evil to do so as a pacifier for the liberals in Austin. I'd rather just have to register the gun....ONCE for a VERY small fee. Only needing to file paperwork ever again when selling it.

    It is what it is and we need to do it in steps. One step at a time to get back as close as possible to where the framers wanted us to be.

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    Now thatthey arerunning it's just a matter of getting them pointed in the right direction.

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    Blkwdw86 wrote:
    This is a handy article. It gives us adefinitive list of ignorant lawmakers who need to a) be reminded of who's boss, and b) voted out of office for the heinous crime of failing to serve the will of the people they purportedly represent.
    Let me just +2 this...

    Well said!
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Rights should not be licensed.

    Instead, let's bring back education.

    Mandatory training and proper handling education in schools.

    Qualification and grading on good marksmanship, safety practices and proper care!

    Whether it be middle or high school - equally important.


    Similar to what we did in Boy Scouts...
    Gun control isn't about guns -- it is about control.

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    ..

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    emoquin:

    Register? For a Fee? NO! Not even once! Do you register your TV? Computer? Shovel? Cell Phone? Kitchen knife? No! Why would you suggest implementing a restriction/detriment that we currently do not have to endure?

    Also, in one post you write: "I am not against licenses what so ever." and then in a later post you write: "Though I'd rather not have licensin..."
    I would like to believe that you mean the latter and the former was a mis-type...

    You seem to know the material/subject fairly well, so don't consider this too much of a flame since you are so new here, more of an informative rant...


    As for the rest of the thread:
    This sucks this time around, but I believe that as long as we keep diligent in our efforts of informing the public and our elected officials; AND continue to back legislation such as Concealed Carry on Campus (no matter how much of a beef we may have with Mr. Guzman and his efforts to sabotage our efforts...) we have a decent chance of making positive headway next session.

    On another note, for the Texas Working Group: I haven't been very active here on the forums, but I am still working the 'information campaign' everywhere I go, and you still have my email if something comes up for us as a group! I am sure that we are all just taking a little breather after the hard push that we made and although quiet at the moment, will rise back into action soon!

    Good day to all!

    Gator
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    "It's crazy" added Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, another legislator with a concealed gun license. "How would you feel if you walked into a 7-Eleven at midnight and you saw a guy carrying a gun?"

    Damn...David. You better stay out of New Mexico and Arizona where you just might walk into a convenience store late at night, see a guy carrying a holstered gun and $hit yourself.:what:

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    GWbiker wrote:
    "It's crazy" added Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, another legislator with a concealed gun license. "How would you feel if you walked into a 7-Eleven at midnight and you saw a guy carrying a gun?"

    Damn...David. You better stay out of New Mexico and Arizona where you just might walk into a convenience store late at night, see a guy carrying a holstered gun and $hit yourself.:what:
    That's something that pisses me off about these politicians. They say things like that to have us think it's so weird for people to be able to open carry, when in reality people do it everyday in other states in this country. The public just needs more infomation. They need to know the truth, that open carry is legal throughout the country, aside from a few states gone astray, Texas included. We have to be informative, because the opposition (i.e. Rep David Swinford), is purposefully misinformative.

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    None of this opposition should be all too unexpected. Afterall, a century of bureaucracy always produces opposition to citizen possession of arms, especially in plain view.

    I do understand why the legislators prefer working on the economy. The economy is not nearly as contraversial as OC. However, nothing can justify the continued illegality of OC, no matter the economic or social situation.


    My 2 cents, as usual.

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    SGT Jensen wrote:
    Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo wrote:
    I see no point on open-carry," ... "I think it is publicly intimidating, (and) it has nothing to do with right to keep and bear arms. It has to do with common sense."
    WOW. :shock: Has this senator never heard of DC v. Heller?
    Someone needs to explain the concept of a license (state permission in this case) versus a right to these legislators. I expect this in New Jersey, Cali, or New York, but it is scary to see such ignorance on such an important subject in a wonderful state such as Texas.

    License/Permit = (stinking) permission from the King (the State)
    Right = Granted by God, affirmed and protected by the state, as it should be


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    I was just as shocked at the true nature of Texas politics and politicians. When I started working on this, I got alot of lip service from my state rep and senator, but when it came down to actually doing the deed.......runaround.

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