Texas is Heaven: My takeaways from the Washington Post report on guns in Texas

Texas is Heaven: My takeaways from the Washington Post report on guns in Texas
AP Photo/Morgan Lee

It’s well-known that Texas has a strong gun culture. I have always been envious of not just that, but also the fact that they have no state income tax and yet run a $33 billion budget surplus, as compared to where I live in New York with insane taxes and a $9 billion budget deficit adding insult to injury. As for guns, laughter is the best medicine I have left to cope with the indignities that New Yorkers are subjected to.


The Washington Post did an excellent report on Texas’ gun culture recently. It was surprisingly neutral for a left-wing publication, and the report’s author Molly Hennessy-Fiske did a good job with it (archived links):

In Texas, guns are everywhere, whether concealed or in the open
NEW BRAUNFELS, Tex. — To live in Texas is to live surrounded by guns.

Each morning, men here strap guns inside suits, boots and swim trunks. Women slip them into bra and bellyband holsters that render them invisible. They stash firearms in purses, tool boxes, portable gun safes, back seats and glove compartments. […]

It has been legal here to openly carry long guns like rifles for generations. But Texas’s gun-friendly attitude isn’t just a relic of the Old West and ranching: Many restrictions on handguns were loosened only recently. Two years ago, state lawmakers gave those 21 and older the right to carry handguns without a permit; in 2015, they gave those with concealed handgun permits the right to carry on public college campuses.

Two years earlier, Texas lawmakers responded to the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut by allowing public school staff with concealed handgun permits to arm themselves. After the 2022 school shooting in Uvalde, Tex., by a gunman using an AR-15-style rifle he bought within days of turning 18, a state House committee passed a proposal to raise the age to buy, lease or receive certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21. But the House rejected the proposal and the legislature instead passed a law requiring armed security at every school and mental health training for some district staff.


School shootings are extremely rare despite the gun controllers’ persistent and brazen lies. Texas’ focus on defense as opposed to New York’s misguided gun bans must be lauded.

Unlike California and some other blue states, Texas has no state firearm sales registry, no required waiting period to buy a gun, no red flag law guarding against the mentally ill or violent having weapons, no restrictions on the size of ammunition magazines and no background checks for guns purchased in a private sale.

While a majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws and say it’s too easy to obtain a gun, many Texans see guns as a solution to the problem, not the problem itself.

I take exception to the portrayal of Texas’ lack of a “red flag law”; the bar for taking someone’s guns should be higher than mere accusations. It’s a feature, not a bug, that Texas doesn’t have New York’s weak protections for civil liberties.

That said, the biggest asset that Texans have isn’t the lack of a registry or waiting period, it’s their attitude. Nothing can make up for a subservient attitude, and thankfully Texans don’t have that.

Texans have purchased about 5.8 million firearms since 2020, more than any other state, according to a Washington Post estimate based on federal background checks. […] Texas has had the most mass killings of any state from 2015 to this year, 30 in total. The next highest state is California, which with about 9 million more residents had 27 total mass killings.


In the larger sad scheme of things, the number of mass killings isn’t much different between free Texas and gun-controlled California. (Note that one of the worst killings in Texas that’s on the list is Sutherland Springs, which arose in part from the Air Force’s negligence.) If you set aside the mass killings and look at the firearm murder rate itself (not the gun controller concocted “gun death rate”), Texas and California aren’t much different. Based on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Table 20, last available for the year 2019, I calculated the total and firearm murder rates per 100,000 people as 4.26 and 2.9 respectively for California, and 4.76 and 3.67 respectively for Texas (using the states’ 2019 populations).

New Braunfels includes one of the top urban Zip codes in Texas for new handgun licenses per capita last year: About 213 per 10,000 people, according to state records; overall, the surrounding county had 155 permits issued per 10,000 people.

By contrast, most San Francisco-area counties had issued fewer than six concealed handgun licenses per 10,000 residents since 2012 […]

Despite granting permits freely, Texas’ firearm murder rate isn’t that different from stingy California’s. The WaPo should have pointed that out.

Also featured in the story are a gun shop owner and a firearms instructor who moved from California and Maryland respectively. I wish I could move out of New York and join them in Texas, but alas, my feet are planted here for the foreseeable future.


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