Gun Control Phase 1
The first time gun control was imposed, the government came to disarm us Texans. Not our U.S. federal government, but Mexican government. You see, Texas was Mexican territory. In the beginning, the relationship between Texans and Mexican government was very much like a fairy tale. “Once upon a time, there was an idyllic relationship between government and gun owners”, but they didn’t live happily ever after.
After Mexico won independence from Spain, it became a constitutional republic modeled on the United States of America. In fact, the official name of Mexico is Los Estados Unidos de México – The United States of Mexico. Texas had two founding fathers: Stephen F. Austin and José Antonio Navarro. In the early days of the empresarios, Navarro was instrumental in establishing the Mexican constitution of 1824 that was (I believe, but haven’t benefit of original documentation) based on the 1787 U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.
As time progressed, a tyrant arose to power. Generalissimo Antonio Miguel Lopéz de Santa Anna, commonly known as Santa Anna, ignored the rule of law, repealed the Mexican constitution of 1824 and took control of the government. This newly self-anointed dictator knew he had to disarm the Texans in order to subjugate them. There was the matter of this little canon provided the people of Gonzales, Texas to ward off attacks from hostile Indians.
That canon was buried to prevent Mexican forces from capturing it as settlers fled toward Louisiana. A few years ago it was found on the river bank and today sits in the Gonzales museum alongside a replica.
By the way, what was Santa Anna’s immigration policy toward the anglo settlers? It was essentially, “Kill them all”.
Moving quickly forward in history, Texas became a state and later seceded from the Union to join forces with the Confederate States of America. Unless you were raised on a desert island, you no doubt know the South lost, slaves were finally emancipated and the Republican government of the Union side imposed “reconstruction” on all former Confederate states. In Texas, “reconstruction” endured from 1865 to 1899.
A New Sheriff In Town
Pretty much throughout the formative years of Texas, the Texas Rangers served in various ways as statewide law enforcement. During “reconstruction”, the federal government replaced the Texas Rangers with the Texas State Police. Everything would have been okay, but for one little bitty detail: the Texas State Police employed freedmen, blacks, and this didn’t go well with the whites, as you can imagine. But, there was more. There was the sitting reconstruction governor Edmund J. Davis – Union army officer and [audible gasp!] a Republican. Learn more about Gov. Davis from TSHA online.
In a nutshell, the Reconstruction Republican government passed “An Act to regulate the keeping and bearing of deadly weapons” on April 12, 1871. Basically, this law prohibited the carrying of any weapons, other than rifles and shotguns, off one’s property. After Democrats regained control of state government in 1872, they repealed most of the Republican legislation.
Prior to 1868, concealed weapons were the choice of criminals. Therefore, anyone doing so was suspect and for good reason. There were no laws prohibiting open-carry of firearms. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, but oddly Gov. Davis had the state constitution amended to deny gun rights to blacks. It was indeed a tumultuous time.
Topsy Turvy Law
Today’s general population considers a concealed weapon “okay”, but an openly-carried handgun a “threat” – precisely the opposite of pre-Civil War common sense law.
As you can see in the map below, all states surrounding Texas allow unrestricted open-carry of handguns, except Oklahoma requires a permit.
Let’s communicate with Texas lawmakers this next legislative session to push for open-carry of handguns. The time to start is right after November general elections. There will be hearings in Austin, so please consider making the trip down to testify FOR open-carry of handguns.