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This Just In: Texas Is Fine

This Just In: Texas Is Fine

Last May, the Texas legislature passed a bill allowing Concealed Handgun License holders to openly carry their handguns, and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law. As Abbott had said upon his election the previous November, “If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas.” 

There was nothing particularly new, radical or even remarkable about the Texas law. In fact, before the law was passed, Texas was one of only six states in the nation that still prohibited open carry of handguns. And while most of those other states require no license or permit to openly carry a handgun, the Texas law extended that freedom only to holders of concealed handgun licenses. “If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas.” – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Nonetheless, before the law was passed, the anti-gun lobby warned of dire consequences if Texas extended the same freedom to its citizens as have 44 other states. 

Just as the anti-gun lobby has used a litany of lies to try to torpedo the Right-to-Carry revolution for almost 30 years now—falsely predicting that recognizing the right to carry would lead to increased bloodshed because permit holders would supposedly “shoot first and ask questions later”—they also used everything from illogical reasoning to outright lies to try to block open carry in Texas. 

For example, last Feb. 12, Kelly Burke, president of the Texas chapter of Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun lobby “Moms Demand Action,” testified breathlessly before the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee, “We do not know about how quote ‘responsible’ CHL holders are because that data set is not available. It is completely locked down. Any statements about how quote ‘responsible and law-abiding’ CHL holders are is completely anecdotal and therefore conjecture.” 

If that wasn’t a lie, it was a misleading—and very likely deliberately deceptive—version of the truth. 

Because the fact is, for the past 20 years, Texas has kept very detailed records on exactly how many crimes are committed by Concealed Handgun License holders. And if Ms. Burke had bothered to spend 15 seconds searching Google, as we did, she would have known that.

Indeed, if Burke had looked at the last five years for which those records are available, she would have found that Texas CHL holders account for just two-tenths of 1 percent of those convicted of crimes in Texas—and those “crimes” include everything from “failure or refusal to display handgun license” to “harassment of a public servant.” 

In other words, Texas Right-to-Carry license holders are, on average, far more lawful than the average citizen ... and very likely, quite a bit more honest, ethical, peaceful and lawful than those seeking to deny them their constitutional, God-given rights. 

For proof of that, just look at the way some within the anti-gun movement have taken to “SWATting” lawful citizens who carry firearms. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) urged its followers to call 911 whenever they see anyone carrying a firearm—regardless of whether any crime has been committed—apparently hoping that if a few innocent armed citizens are mistakenly killed by police, then that will put the kibosh on this whole scary, icky business of ordinary citizens being armed to defend themselves and others. If you want to “transform” America, you’ve got to break some eggs, right? Fortunately, police say they’ll investigate any such malicious and dangerous acts by anti-gun zealots.Open Carry Texas is “like the Taliban.”– Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, attributed.

But the question those zealots must confront today is this: After all the hand-wringing, after all the gloom-and-doom predictions, after all the lies, the misleading and deceptive testimony, now that Texas’ Open Carry law has been on the books for a month, where is all the murder, madness and mayhem? 

Where are all the open carriers you said (or hoped) would be killed by police? Where are all the shootouts you predicted would erupt from the “provocative” fact of lawful citizens openly carrying guns? Where is this mythical crime wave you promised would follow when Texas extended the same freedom to its citizens that 44 other states extend to theirs? 

The answer they’re likely to give you is that those victims are “countless”—and indeed, their uncountable because there are none to count. It hasn’t happened. 

As Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson—who authored and won passage of Texas’ 1996 concealed handgun law, which heralded a 40-percent decrease in firearm homicides there—said, “There is no reason to restrict liberty in any way if exercising that liberty is not hurtful. Open carry is not hurtful.” 

Too bad the same can’t be said for the lies and the liars of the anti-gun lobby.