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Open Carry – much ado about nothing

Editorial by Dade Phelan

 

As expected House Bill 910, which allowed for the open carry of firearms in Texas, has been the bill from 2015 that was more about fracas than facts. On January 1st of this year those law abiding citizens with Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) could either carry a firearm concealed or in plain view of the public. The same restrictions applied to locations where one may carry and proper signage from a property owner could restrict open carry – just like before.

Now six months later the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. The bass still spawn in the spring and the bucks rut in the fall. The world did not end. To date I have not seen a single, not one, individual openly carrying a firearm. Law abiding Texans respect firearms and each other. Most prefer the criminals not know they posses a gun after all who wants to be the priority target?

Now, in approximately sixty days the new campus carry statute will go into affect in Texas. The enactment of Senate Bill 11 should be quiet and seamless as well. Unfortunately, those opposing our 2nd Amendment rights feel like making this issue something it is not. They prefer “gun free” zones while ignoring the fact that firearms are already on campus right now being carried by those with no regard for the rules. They also cannot comprehend the small scale of those who will actually posses a firearm. The University of Texas at Austin, a staunch opponent of campus carry, commissioned a study on the effect of SB 11. Their own findings showed less than 2% of the student body would carry. That low percentage will be universal across the state because to carry on a higher education campus one must have a CHL. Therefore you must be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal and mental background test, submit your fingerprints to the FBI, take a classroom course, demonstrate shooting proficiency and pay all necessary fees. By the time a student is of age and performs all that is required most are near graduation.

The most recent shooting on a college campus was just last week in California at UCLA, a state that bans guns on campus. A disgruntled ex-student returned to his school and gunned down his former professor. Campus carry is not just about protecting students. It is also about protecting the faculty and staff that goes to work each day in a gun free zone prohibited from defending themselves.

Senate Bill 11 allowed each school to develop their own guidelines for implementing the new law. I applaud Lamar State College – Orange for their guidelines. There will be no restrictions on their campus beside those already provided by law. They have put their students, faculty and staff safety first.

It is an honor to serve the citizens of Southeast. If I may ever be of assistance, please contact me at dade.phelan@house.state.tx.us, 512.463.0706 or 409.745.2777.

May God bless you all and the great state of Texas,

 

Dade Phelan is Texas House Member Representative for District 21