28 May 2015 AD
Finally, after 150 years our Texas Legislature has in the works a bill to allow law-abiding adult Texans to again wear handguns the way they are best worn: out in the open. The Union disarmed southerners during Reconstruction, a time when only “carpetbaggers” and freedmen were allowed to openly carry sidearms. Before the Civil War, Americans were able to wear self-defense weapons nearly 250 years.
Back in the 90’s a concealed-carry movement swept the nation. Texas passed concealed-carry in 1995. At that time law enforcement agencies across the state prattled about their fear of armed Texans. Gradually, over the next several legislative sessions our fellow Texans became accustomed to concealed-carry and a surprising statistic emerged: the arrest and conviction rate for CHL holders is LESS THAN for law enforcement officers. Imagine that.
Throughout the time following applying for and earning my CHL, not one single CHL holder has pulled a gun on me. In fact, not even one criminal has threatened me with a handgun. However, there was one man who did pull his handgun on me. He did it to intimidate me. That man was a Rockwall policeman who is still on the payroll here in our fair city.
The chief issue here is one of a misunderstanding of duty. Duty. A seldom used, seldom understood, seldom applied term. It seems to be a foreign concept to contemporary law enforcement agencies. Let’s consider what ‘duty’ means.
When I was in the Navy back in the 60’s and 70’s, duty was indelibly embedded in my thinking. Duty to us meant others, those we serve, were more important than we were. Putting that into present-day government, if I were a policeman who thought in terms of my duty to the citizens, I would hold the lives of those citizens above my own. We don’t see that today in our police forces. Today, they think their personal safety and comfort is more important than the safety and comfort of the general public.
What is the chief duty of law enforcement officers? Look to the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence for an answer.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
The chief duty, the most fundamental duty of law enforcement officers is to secure the rights of citizens, not to position themselves as superior beings who deem their rights above all other persons.
The second part of the Second Amendment says,
“the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”
Law enforcement leaders now stridently opposing behave as they did when the legislature was advancing concealed-handgun legislation, leading to silly rules whereby we had to quickly inform an officer of the presence of a handgun in the car and readily display the license. As time past, two years ago the Legislature made it lawful for any law-abiding adult to have a handgun in their automobile and requirements of declaration of a weapon and display of the CHL have gone by the way.
I urge the Texas legislature, particularly Sen. Bob Hall, Representative Scott Turner and Governor Greg Abbott to not be paralyzed by the unreasonable, selfish fears of law enforcement. Let’s join the majority of these states with sensible open-carry legislation that recognizes the inalienable and declared rights of our citizens.