It’s one of the most cringeworthy phrases in the vocabulary of gun control advocates, and it’s even worse when it comes out of the mouth of law enforcement.
In this case, it’s Joseph Chacon, the interim police chief in Austin, Texas who says he supports the Second Amendment, but…
He, along with other Texas police chiefs, spoke Thursday in opposition of a bill currently moving through the Texas Legislature that would allow Texans to carry a gun without a permit.
“I want to be clear, this is not about the Second Amendment,” Chacon said. “It’s not about peoples’ right to lawfully carry a firearm — I’m very much in support of all those things. Carrying a powerful weapon is also a responsibility.”
Are you kidding me? Constitutional Carry is very much about the Second Amendment and people’s right to lawfully carry a firearm. Under the terms of the legislation, anyone who can legally own a gun could also legally carry it. It’s dishonest for Chacon to pretend this bill has nothing to do with the Second Amendment, just as its ridiculous for him to declare that he supports the right to keep and bear arms, but he wants the power to arrest people for carrying a concealed firearm without a license, even though the open carrying of a firearm without a license is legal under Texas law.
“It’s reasonable and important to ask of someone carrying a firearm in public know how to safely handle and store a gun, and have a basic awareness of law related to weapons and use of deadly force,” Chacon said.
The comments came as a special committee, made specifically to discuss the bill, is set to convene at the Capitol on Thursday. The bill passed through the Texas House 84-56 after hours of debate April 15, and it’s now up to the Senate to decide its fate.
I too think it’s reasonable that folks carrying a gun have some training beforehand. I just don’t think it’s reasonable to make it a criminal offense for legal gun owners to carry without a license that mandates training. I also think it’s completely unreasonable to believe that if a license is required to lawfully carry, then only those with a license will choose to do so. Clearly that’s not the case, because there are plenty of criminals in Texas who couldn’t care less about the state’s licensing laws.
Jimmy Perdue, the police chief of North Richland Hills, Texas, near Fort Worth, said Texas has “a long history of a very successful license to carry process.”
“A key part of the process is training where people must demonstrating a proficiency with the weapon and an understanding of the law,” he said.
He also mentioned that The Texas Department of Public Safety denied 2,269 applications for a license to carry in 2020, about one-tenth of a percent of the total applications DPS received.
“The vast majority of people who applied got a permit,” Perdue said. “To claim the process has somehow denied a law-abiding citizen from receiving a permit is just groundless. The current system works and should be kept in place.”
Again, open carry without a license is already legal in Texas, and since that’s a part of the current system that Perdue says is working, why should we assume that allowing those same legal gun owners to put on a jacket or let the hem of their shirt fall over their pistol is going to suddenly and dramatically lead to more violent crime?
The argument for Constitutional Carry isn’t that “shall issue” policies lead to law-abiding citizens being denied the right to carry. In fact, even if the permitless carry bill becomes law in Texas, the current shall issue licensing system will remain in effect, and folks can and will continue to get their concealed carry licenses, particularly if they want to carry in other states.
The argument for Constitutional Carry is that you shouldn’t need a government permission slip to exercise your right to keep and bear arms. Texas doesn’t have a permit requirement to keep a gun in the home. Would Chacon and Perdue consider such a law to be a violation of the Second Amendment? If they believe that a training mandate is necessary before people carry a gun, why don’t they believe it’s equally necessary before someone purchases one?
Maybe they do, and maybe their claims of support for the Second Amendment are more rhetoric than deeply-held convictions. Either way, their argument against Constitutional Carry is a bad one… no buts about it.