AP Photo/Yakima Herald-Republic, TJ Mullinax, File
In the wake of a disaster, life can be tense.
It wasn’t all that long ago when my hometown was devastated by Hurricane Michael. We went days without power or telephones. While our cellphones worked, charging them could be challenging. There was no way to call for help if we needed it. What’s more, the bad guys in the area knew it as well.
The state of Texas has had its own experience with such disasters, having dealt with Hurricane Harvey which caused horrific devastation. Texas got hit a whole lot worse than we did, as we all know.
Now, Texas has passed a law allowing open and concealed carry without a permit for a week after a disaster area is declared. The measure will allow people who may not have a permit to carry a firearm as needed to protect life and property in the chaotic aftermath of something like another hurricane.
It seems that not everyone is thrilled with the development.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on Monday blasted a bill that would allow people without a handgun license to carry pistols in public — openly or concealed — for a week after a disaster is declared.
“We experienced one of the worst disasters in Texas history during Harvey,” Acevedo wrote. “This bill wasn’t needed then and isn’t needed now. This will embolden 20,000+ gang members & will not help LE [law enforcement]. Let’s hope it isn’t signed.”
Gun control advocates and several lawmakers have raised similar concerns about House Bill 1177, which is headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for approval after narrowly passing in the Texas Senate on Sunday.
Of course, it should be noted that Acevedo isn’t a friend of the Second Amendment. Earlier this year, Acevedo lashed out at elected officials after four Houston police officers were shot. He wanted the state to pass gun control and, of course, it won’t.
Acevedo is hardly anyone worth listening to when it comes to firearms.
The truth of the matter is, those 20,000 plus gang members Acevedo is worried about? They’re going to be carrying guns either way. They’re carrying guns now without a permit, so how would a disaster change that? Those up to no good will continue to be up to no good regardless of the rules in place.
Now, I agree with Acevedo that it won’t necessarily help law enforcement. It’s not meant to.
It’s meant to help people who have no way to contact law enforcement. It’s intended to help people who are knee-deep in a disaster who don’t have time for law enforcement to arrive. Response times can be slowed significantly in a community where trees may be covering roads. Even in the best of times, the police are only guaranteed to get there in time to draw chalk around your body, and we’re not talking about the best of times here.
So no, this isn’t about helping law enforcement. It’s about helping everyone else during a time when they damn sure can’t count on law enforcement saving them, despite those individual officers’ best hopes and wishes.
Acevedo can be upset, but Abbot needs to sign the bill if he hasn’t already by the time you’re reading this. A bill like this can help a whole lot of people, people who Acevedo would rather see hurt.