AUSTIN — The Texas State legislature has passed open carry and campus carry in Texas. The Senate gave its final approval to open carry, voting 20-10 in favor for a bill that allows licensed gun permit holders to openly carry handguns. Texas currently recognizes the concealed handgun licenses issued in more than 40 states, and license holders from those states will be allowed to openly carry in Texas once it becomes law. The Senate also approved legislation requiring the state’s public universities to allow handguns in dorms, classrooms and campus buildings. The campus carry bill only allows concealed handgun license holders to carry their firearms on campus, and private universities would be allowed to opt out. Other places where concealed carry is currently not authorized remains the same.
Texas has about 850,000 concealed handgun license holders, a number that has increased sharply in recent years.
An amendment – the so-called Dutton Amendment – was removed by the Committee Conference. The amendment would have prohibited police officers from stopping someone solely because they are openly carrying a handgun. However, some legislators argued earlier this week that court rulings already prohibit such investigatory stops.
Texas’ prohibition on openly carrying handguns dates to the post-Civil War era, and was aimed at disarming former Confederate soldiers as well as freed slaves. Gun rights advocates have argued open carry is about personal protection, though anti-gun rights groups, like Moms Demand Action, have claimed open carrying of handguns is about intimidation. Prior to Texas passing this bill, open carry was already legal in 44 states where intimidation by open carriers is not an issue. OpenCarry.org lists a number of quotes from law enforcement officials that were initially skeptical about open carry in their state, but found it not to be a public safety problem.
Notwithstanding, some liberal politicians and anti-gun rights activists made hysterical statements about passing open carry in Texas. Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis (D – Houston) said he fears violence on the streets, stating “I hope we don’t have a host of Texans running around with a Rambo mentality.” Nevermind that the Texas law only allows already-licensed gun owners who have been concealed carrying in Texas for years to openly carry, or that none of the other 44 states that allow open carry have issues with open carry “Rambos”. Sandy Chasse, from the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action, said “There is no evidence to show the open carry of handguns makes Texas safer.” Since open carry is only now set to become legal in January of 2016, there is no empirical evidence that open carry does anything one way or another, because it’s never occurred previously. We do have empirical evidence from 44 other states however that open carry hasn’t make the people in those states less safe. Further the CDC found that lawful gun carry is a deterrent to crime, reduces injury to potential victims and saves lives. All available evidence suggests that open carry in Texas will only make Texas safer. Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed. Texas State Senator, Joan Huffman (R – Houston) said, “I think what we’re talking about here are responsible citizens who are trained who have gone through a background check and we will expect them to act responsibly.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already said he will approve the open carry bill. Once the final approval from the Texas legislature was final, he tweeted the bill’s next destination is “My Pen”.
The full text of the open carry bill is here:
An Islamic terrorist mass murder plot was stopped. A free speech event outside of Dallas, Texas was targeted by Muslim terrorists with possible links to ISIS. The event in Garland, Texas featured controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The suspects traveled from Phoenix, Arizona. Police searched the suspects residence in Phoenix in connection with the case. The suspects were armed with semi-automatic rifles and wore body armor.
The shooting is drawing comparisons to similiar attacks in other Western nations. Reuters reported:
The shooting incident in the Dallas suburb of Garland was an echo of past attacks or threats in other Western countries against images depicting the Prophet Mohammad. In January, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in what was said to be revenge for its cartoons.
The main difference between the Texas Mohammed cartoon drawing and the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, France over Mohammed cartoon drawings is that in America we have guns. Security for the event was worked out months in advance. The organization hosting the event paid an additional $10,000 for security to have the facility guarded by FBI and ATF officers, and local police. Both suspects were shot and killed by a traffic officer working after-hours as security for the event; he was armed with .45 caliber Glock handgun.
Texas cartoon shooting suspects
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the the attack. One of the suspects had declared loyalty to ISIS, and was convicted in 2011 of making a false statement involving international and domestic terrorism. He had planned to travel to Somalia to engage in “violent jihad”. Court records show he was sentenced to three years of probation. Prior to the attack in Texas, he tweeted “May Allah accept us as mujahideen.”
Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, who attended the event said: “We will never allow barbarism. New leadership is required to defend freedom of speech.”
Analysis: Free Speech
Some are blaming the event sponsors for the deaths of the terrorists. This ignores personal responsibility for ones actions, and that being offended is no justification to murder other people. Nearly everyone in a free society could potentially be offended by someone else’s choices, words or actions. That’s the pricetag of our freedom: another’s liberty may not be our own liking. But in a civilized society, we don’t kill or condone killing of others simply because of being offended. No, the people responsible for the terrorists deaths are the terrorists themselves. It used to be that good guys cheered when the bad guys lost, instead of blaming the bad guys deaths on someone else. Failing to see it correctly as such is because of the infection of so-called “political correctness”, which is really merely an scheme by which certain types of thought and speech are sanctioned (as “correct”), while suppressing others. Thinking people who value liberty and freedom ought to reject the illogical, inane, and stunted thought sanctioned under so-called political correctness. We certainly should not make excuses for terrorists intent on murdering people who simply offend them with art or their words.
Gun control France saw Muslim terrorists with fully automatic weapons kill a dozen people for being offensive (of note: Christians and Jews were also mocked by the Charlie Hebdo publication, but no Christians or Jews killed anyone or even threatened to). But in the United States, any law-abiding citizen can own a Glock .45 handgun, the same type of gun used to kill the Muslim terrorists in Texas. This is rightly called justifiable homicide. According to the FBI, there were 410 justifiable homicides by police in 2012, and another 310 by civilians. However, not all lawful defensive gun uses result in death: According to the CDC, guns are used for self-defense a minimum of 500,000 times per year. Obviously, most of these defensive gun uses do not result in justifiable homicide (like this one). The moral of the story is: The bad guys always find a way to get a gun, whether with fully automatic guns in gun control France, or with guns in gun control Chicago. Failing that, the determined find another way to hurt innocent people, sometimes with fertilizer bombs, sometimes with box cutters and commercial airliners. Making good people helpless, as in Paris, France, doesn’t make the bad guys harmless. But when people are armed for their self-defense, whether off-duty (or on duty) cops – or civilians, they can stop bad guys, often before lots of good people get hurt. In Texas, many lives were saved because a planned mass murder by Muslim terrorists was stopped by a good guy with a gun.
Yakima, WA — A felony assault charge was filed against the man who attacked a Wal-Mart shopper with a baseball bat. The victim, 32-year-old Brandon Walker, was shopping with three children while lawfully openly carrying a handgun on his person. Police say he was the victim of an unprovoked assault by Trevor Zumwalt who struck him with a metal bat. According to statements, Walker and Zumwalt did not know each other and did not exchange any words before Zumwalt attacked Walker. It seems that Zumwalt, at 5 feet, 6 inches, attacked much larger Walker at 6 foot, 1 inch and 360 pounds because he was openly carrying a firearm.
It’s a strange case. Imagine you’re Walker, taking your son to buy a baseball bat. You imagine it’s going to be a quick trip in and out of the store. It’s hot, so you decide to leave your jacket – which normally conceals your handgun – in your car, and then are attacked with a bat. Video from the store’s security system shows Zumwalt pick up a metal bat from a rack and struck Walker in the shoulder. Walker said he drew his .357 Sig Sauer handgun and ordered Zumwalt to the floor. Walker kept the gun on Zumwalt, asking store employees to call police, and he holstered his gun only when officers arrived.
According to an interview with Bearing Arms, Walker said the only thing that makes sense is that he was attacked because of openly carrying his handgun. Mr. Walker believes that Zumwalt may have wanted to take the firearm. Bearing Arms also reported that one of Zumwalt’s friends “contacted Mr. Walker via Facebook, and thanked him for showing restraint. According to her [Zumwalt] has long had a history of mental illness, and has never gotten the help that he needs.”
Open carry is lawful in Washington state. Concealed carry is licensed on what is known as a “shall-issue” basis, meaning Washington state will grant a license to anyone who passes the FBI background check. The background check is used to verify there is no legal reason to bar firearm possession, like prior felony convictions. Walker had a concealed carry weapon (CCW) license, which wasn’t necessary since it is lawful to openly carry without one. Walker, who normally carries concealed, says that he will not open carry again. He said he already has a firearm picked out for the summer months ahead, and from now on, he’ll only open carry at the gun range.
Debate runs within the gun community over whether to open-carry or concealed-carry firearms in public. Walker said he thought it was going to be a quick shopping trip, but it ended up being potentially serious by being targeted ostensibly because he was openly carrying. Open carry advocates say they like to open carry to reduce stigma of carrying, and to reduce potential for crime on the reasoning that a criminal is less likely to attempt a crime where people are openly carrying firearms. Advocates of concealed carry say it helps the individual maintain anonymity precisely so that they don’t stand out as a target while keeping the tactical advantages of being armed combined with the element of surprise should they need to draw their firearm.
What do you say?
Moms Demand Action launched yet another campaign against a large U.S. business, this time Kroger. The campaign was aimed at getting Kroger to change their policy and ban firearms from being openly carried in their stores. Kroger’s current policy is to abide by the local laws in each state they operate stores in. Moms Demand has had a poor record in their campaigns to pressure businesses to change their policies, failing to get McDonalds, Starbucks, Staples, and Facebook and Instagram to change their policies and ban guns (a few have asked their customers to pretty-please not openly carry, but have not banned open- or concealed-carry of guns, and some have flatly rejected their petitions entirely). Like many of their previous campaigns, Mom Demand Action loses – again – and Kroger becomes the latest company to reject their petition.
Moms Demand took out ads, billboards, and launched a social media campaign that included sending text messages to Kroger. Moms Demand ridiculously claimed “Kroger’s refusal to enact a gun sense policy creates a dangerous environment for customers and employees alike.” In fact, Kroger’s gun policy is exactly the gun policy (i.e. the law) of each state in which they operate, allowing or prohibiting open carry, based on the law there.
Kroger has opted to maintain their position that state legislative bodies are responsible to decide legal policy, rather than having retailers legislate. ON CNBC’s Squawk Box, Kroger CFO Michael Schlotman said they will not comply with the demands of Moms Demand Action, stating “our policy is to adhere to the local gun laws. If the local gun laws are to allow open carry, we’ll certainly allow customers to do that based on what the local laws are. We don’t believe it’s up to us to legislate what the local gun control laws should be. It’s up to the local legislators to decide to do that.” This is consistent with Kroger’s statement last August when they held to their existing policy: “Our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping.” Kroger said they recognize the beliefs of both sides, care about customer safety, and also don’t want to burden employees with enforcing a ban, putting them “in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun.” Despite claims by the paid-for political pollster used by Moms Demand that Kroger would lose more business than they saved by not complying with their demands, Kroger’s stock has gone up by 21%.
This is the latest in a series of losses for Moms Demand Action. Staples wouldn’t even meet with them, sending a security guard to collect their petition and escort them off the property. Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) did not ban gun ads on their sites, only stating they would ensure ads did not indicate a willingness to break the law. Starbucks asked ‘pretty-please’ don’t openly carry, but would not change their policy outright and stated even if someone does openly carry they will still be served. Moms Demand Action tried to spin their failure with Starbucks (they petitioned for a total gun ban) as a “win”. Kroger’s flat rejection is an utter loss for them, but a win for the millions of law-abiding gun carries everywhere in the country. The CDC, along with the National Research Council and Institute for Medicine reported that lawful gun carry actually deters crime, reduces injury to potential victims and saves lives. Law enforcement overwhelmingly supports lawful gun carry. Now that is actual gunsense.
A Boston high school suspended two teen honor students for posting a picture holding toy Airsoft guns to their personal Facebook account. The students are facing possible expulsion, ostensibly under the schools “zero tolerance” policy. Zero tolerance is a policy of punishing any infraction of a rule, regardless of accidental mistakes, ignorance, or extenuating circumstances. This policy has been used to expel children for pointing their fingers in the shape of a gun or chewing bread into the shape of a gun while at school. Zero tolerance is a stupid policy, that doesn’t do anything to make our kids safer, instead punishing kids for completely innocent and harmless actions.
The honor students took the photo in formal attire as part of their date night for Homecoming. The picture was taken by the boy’s father in their own home. In it, the students are each holding toy airsoft rifles pointed downward with their fingers off the triggers. They are smiling. The rifles were left in the parent’s home and not taken with them to the Homecoming dance, the school, any school property or any school function. The photo was titled “Homecoming 2014”.
The picture was taken on a Friday night. The students went to the dance. The dance went without incident; absolutely no one was injured or threatened. The following Monday, the school became aware of the photo when other students brought it to teachers and administration’s attention. School officials said the photo “created a scare.” Teenagers are known to be emotional and overreact at times. The adults in the situation – presumably any of the teachers or administrators – ought to be able to address the situation rationally without themselves becoming hysterical, emotional, or overreacting. It may be fair to say that adults are required to do so if they are to be entrusted with supervising our teens.
A simple phone call to the parents could have cleared up this situation rationally. According to a BuzzPo report, suspended student Tito Velez states his father keeps the realistic-looking toys locked up when they are not taking them to play. This could have been easily verified by the administration. Instead two honor students are suspended facing potential expulsion for literally nothing, where absolutely no one was hurt or threatened and not even toy guns were on school property or at a school event at any time. Tito Velez also stated that school rules don’t prohibit photos on a personal Facebook profile. The school superintendent said it’s not because of social media or because of guns, saying “It’s not a social media thing. It’s not a gun thing”, a dubious claim since the suspension happened following the picture portraying guns on a social media site.
Ironically, Boston is also home to one of the world’s most renowned criminologists who studies mass murder, Dr. James Alax Fox of Northeastern University. Dr. Fox says that zero tolerance
“ makes zero sense”, saying that it “lacks the essential element of discretion and level-headed reasoning about the difference between” an actual threat or danger and an harmless action or mistake. He further adds that “no evidence exists that the zero tolerance approach has made schools any safer,” and adds that “if anything, school climate has been harmed, not helped, by this excessively rigid and punitive approach.” Rational adults can tell the difference between actual violence and threats and a harmless photo.
This article was originally published on Tavernkeepers.com. Original publish date Nov 1, 2014. Original author, Matt MacBradaigh.
Anti-gun liberals wasted no time exploiting the mass murder shooting, stabbing, and attempted vehicular homicide rampage that took place in the Isla Vista area of Santa Barbara. After posting a YouTube video promising a “day of retribution,” a deeply disturbed madman went on a killing spree leaving six dead and 13 injured. Already some are exploiting the deaths for political purposes, using the victims – and selectively ignoring crucial key facts of this incident – to push a policy agenda that will not make anyone safer. Laws don’t prevent crime; they punish it.
- The suspect, a 22-year-old student at a college student, had three previous contacts with local law enforcement according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. There are six victims killed, 13 wounded, and the suspect apparently shot himself in the head.
- The murder spree began at the suspect’s residence with a knife. Three males were killed, victims of multiple stab wounds. “It was a pretty horrific crime scene,” Brown told reporters.
- Following the stabbings, the suspect drove to a sorority, where he shot three female UCSB students, killing two and injuring one.
- The suspect then traveled to a nearby deli, where he left his vehicle to shoot 20-year-old Christopher Martinez — another UCSB student.
- All told, there were 10 separate crime scenes before the mass murder came to an end. Brown said deputies exchanged fire with the suspected gunman twice before his vehicle crashed. The suspect apparently took his own life.
- Three semi-automatic handguns and forty-one (41) 10-round magazines were recovered from the suspect’s car, police said. All of the weapons were legally purchased and registered to the suspect.
- Those injured included at least four by the suspect’s car and eight by gunshot wounds. “He aimed his car at our group of friends and gunned it into us,” one victim says.
- The suspect’s parents – whose father was an assistant director on the 2012 film The Hunger Games – had called the police about a month ago to express concerns about his YouTube videos “regarding suicide and the killing of people.” Police officers interviewed him but concluded he posed no danger, stating they had found him to be a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.”
Despite half of the victims murdered with a knife, the media is calling the incident a “shooting.” It is a shooting, and also a stabbing and vehicular assault with attempted vehicular homicide. Already the left is exploiting the tragedy to push their inane agenda. Gun control does not reduce crime. The gun control measures proposed nationally (all of which failed) after the Sandy Hook shooting included restricting magazine capacity limits to 10 rounds, banning so-called “assault rifles,” and imposing universal background checks. These measures were promoted to stop shootings, reduce crime, and increase our safety and the safety “of the children.”
California has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. That didn’t do anything to prevent the three knife murders (half of the victims murdered). Gun control advocates want to ban so-called “assault rifles” – the killer used handguns. Gun control advocates want “universal” background checks – the killer’s handguns were all purchased legally with a background check and registered to him. That didn’t prevent anything. Gun control advocates want to limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds – California law limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds and the killer used 10 round magazines; forty-one 10-round capacity magazines. This stopped nothing. Further, the suspect used his BMW car as a weapon to injure and attempt to take lives. No gun laws would have changed that.
One of the victim’s parents blames the NRA: “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA,” an emotional Richard Martinez told reporters outside the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. “They talk about gun rights, what about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop?”
As a parents, we can only imagine the feelings of grief and loss. Perhaps such a time is not one for rash and selfish statements. Half of the victims and their families are dealing with loss of their own that has nothing to do with guns, the NRA or politics. Making the nation’s oldest civil rights organization the subject of one’s own personal witch hunt doesn’t solve anything, and ignores the very real grief and loss suffered by others in this incident.
The NRA supports lawful use of firearms, not murder. The answer to “what about Chris’ right to live?” is that his was stolen from him by a deeply disturbed person. We do, in fact, have a law for that – it’s called homicide. What happened was absolutely wrong. We can’t legislate away insanity or evil – if we could have figured out how to make people not do wrong, we would have done so long ago.
But laws don’t prevent crime; they provide for punishment once caught after breaking the law. Laws define guidelines and boundaries, and provide penalties for violating them, but they don’t enforce themselves. That’s why we have law enforcement officers. Further, even if all the gun control advocates’ wish-list of laws had come to pass, this incident still would have happened exactly as it did. Not a single gun control proposal would have affected the outcome even in the slightest.
Yes, guns (and knives, cars, hands, and other instruments) are used by people to injure and kill. What gun control zealots ignore is that guns are also used by people to defend, prevent injury and save lives. Many academic studies and the CDC have reported that law-abiding people use guns to defend themselves at least a half-million times a year. Brenner Brief has reported recently real-life stories of people who have done just that, and of law enforcement officials that support the right of the law-abiding to carry guns because they “save people’s lives.” Death is horrific, and mass murder is tragic. The truly sick and disgusting exploit it to push an agenda that makes us more susceptible to further tragedy by attacking our rights and very means to defend ourselves from criminals and the mentally disturbed.
This article was originally published on Brenner Brief. Original publish date May 26, 2014. Original author, Matt MacBradaigh.