Politics Magazine

A Return To The "Wild West" For Texas ?

Posted on the 04 February 2013 by Jobsanger
While the right-wing (and the NRA leadership) want to deny it, there is little doubt that gun deaths have gotten out of hand in this country (murders, suicides, accidents) -- and the primary cause of it is too many guns floating around (nearly one gun for every citizen) in the hands of people who have no business owning or carrying a gun. The federal government is now trying to solve that problem by fixing the holes in the background check requirement (about 40% of guns bought are done so without a background check). They are also trying to once again ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and ammunition clips holding more than 10 bullets.
Those are reasonable actions (and the Supreme Court has already declared them to be constitutional). But while the federal government is trying to restrict gun sales and possession, the state of Texas seems to be doing just the opposite. The legislature is currently holding its biennial legislative session, and they are considering passage of several gun bills -- including allowing people with concealed carry permits to take their guns into the classrooms of a public university, allowing superintendents and school board members with a concealed carry permit to take their weapons to a board meeting, and reducing the number of hours of training to get a concealed carry permit from 10 hours down to 4 hours.
Those are all bad bills, and Texans should hope they don't get passed. But they pale in comparison to another proposed law, HB700 filed by Texarkana Rep. George Lavender, which would allow those with a concealed carry permit to openly carry their weapons in plain view -- that is, walk down the street wearing a gun in a holster (like in the western movies).
I think these legislative idiots have the idea that somehow we would all be safer if everyone openly carried a weapon. They want to return to a time when people defended themselves by carrying a weapon. The problem with that is they are believing in a myth -- not a reality. While the movies show people walking around town with guns strapped to their hip, for most 19th century western towns that was not a reality.
Our 19th century ancestors were not stupid people. They knew that allowing everyone to carry a weapon didn't make the town safer, but more dangerous -- because anger, alcohol, hurt feelings, and other causes made it dangerous to allow guns in a populated area. And most western towns did not allow anyone to carry a weapon within the city limits (except law enforcement officers). While they respected the right of citizens to own a firearm, they also were not shy about instituting gun control laws for the safety of the town's inhabitants (and to encourage new residents to move there).
Allowing people to openly carry weapons in our cities may sound like a great idea to the gun nuts today, but it sounded like a stupid idea to our ancestors who settled the "wild west". They believed in gun control (and knew it didn't violate the Constitution). We should be that smart.

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