AP Photo/Eric Gay, File
People don’t think of Texas as a gun control state. Its reputation is clear as day, and that is pro-gun. It’s not the most pro-gun state in the nation despite the reputation as such, but it’s pro-gun, which may explain why Texas’ reaction to Sutherland Springs a year and a half ago is to clarify the law on carrying a firearm in a church.
Some Texas legislators want to make it clearer in state law that licensed handgun holders can carry weapons in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship, nearly a year and a half after a gunman killed 26 people at a small-town Texas church during a Sunday service.
The effort comes as places of worship around the world face targeted attacks by extremists, including a shooting at a California synagogue last week that left one worshiper dead and injured three others. In October 2018, a gunman killed 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
The Texas bill would codify an opinion state Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a little over a month after a gunman killed more than two dozen people at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in November 2017. Paxton determined then that licensed handgun holders can legally carry in places of worship unless given “effective oral or written notice” or warning that weapons were banned from the property.
Supporters of the bill that passed the state Senate on Tuesday say it will help churches and other houses of worship determine security measures. A similar measure is expected to get a vote in the House soon.
Churches have always been targets for maniacs of all stripes. You have a lot of people in a confined space with only a handful of exits. Those same people are focused forward, every back to the door, so no one but the pastor has a clue what’s happening until it’s too late, and many states legally prohibit the carrying of a defensive firearm in houses of worship.
Even without that last one, it’s not difficult to see why churches are a target of mass shooters.
Between Sutherland Springs and the recent rash of slaughters at other houses of worship, I think the state of Texas is on the right track. Making it clear that people can carry at church may go a long, long way toward effectively preventing another tragedy. The existence of such a law may serve as a warning to those who would kill that trying to carry out a mass shooting in a church in Texas may not be the wisest move possible.
No matter how much the anti-gunners want to ignore it, more guns lead to less crime. That’s especially true of mass murder. Those maniacs opt for gun free zones almost every time. Take away the gun free zones and their target choices diminish.
Now, I’m not saying they won’t try anything if there are no gun free zones left. But what I will say is that if that were to happen and gun free zones go the way of the dodo, what you will see is a lot more stories about potential mass shootings and a lot fewer about mass shootings.
Texas lawmakers clearly understand this to some extent.