El Paso And Texas' New Gun Laws

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El Paso, Texas was home to a horrific mass shooting where 23 people were killed and another 23 people were injured. It was a terrible event and it probably made a number of people anti-Second Amendment. After all, terrible events can make anyone question their thoughts on guns. If you weren’t that firm about gun rights before, you’re not necessarily going to hold fast.

Unsurprisingly, some people aren’t thrilled with Texas and its new gun laws.

Yet it’s interesting that the L.A. Times starts their story about that fact with this:

Martin Portillo got a gun after the mass shooting at a Walmart in his hometown of El Paso two years ago, even though it went against his upbringing.

His wife, Daisy Arvizu, was working at the store when a man started firing — allegedly bent on killing as many Mexicans as he could in the predominantly Latino border city in the state’s western tip, according to authorities. And Portillo felt that getting the handgun and learning how to use it might give him peace of mind and help quiet his wife’s nightmares about the Aug. 3, 2019, attack that killed 23 people and wounded many others.

“I was the first one in my family to get a gun; we never resorted to anything like that,” the 26-year-old cable TV installer said. “It does get to me that I wasn’t there to do something. This is sort of the best I can do.”

On Wednesday, Texas became the 20th and largest state to allow some form of the unregulated carry of a firearm. Under the new law, most people ages 21 or older who haven’t been convicted of a felony can carry a holstered handgun, concealed or otherwise, in public without undergoing any training or getting a permit.

What Portillo did makes perfect sense. I mean, his wife was in the store working. She well could have been killed, especially if the vile scumbag pulling the trigger really was out to kill “Mexicans.” (That word is in quotes because I believe he was actually targeting Hispanics and not just people from Mexico.)

Portillo made a rational choice to exercise his Second Amendment rights, despite the fact that it wasn’t something he’d ever really considered before.

Yet many in El Paso are uncomfortable with permitless carry. Including Portillo.

But many opposed the new law. Although it stiffened the penalties for felons getting caught with guns, police groups expressed concern about the scrapped training requirements and about officers being able to safely navigate routine interactions with gun carriers without permits.

Even though Portillo, like many others in El Paso, bought a handgun after the Walmart attack, he said he’s uneasy with the looser requirements to carry one in public and thinks it could lead to more gun violence.

“I think that if you are as heavily armed as a police officer, that you need to be actually trained,” said Portillo, a naturalized U.S. citizen who moved as a boy to El Paso from Ciudad Juarez, just across the border with Mexico. “Things escalate, especially nowadays. … They don’t fight with their fists.”

Except police officers respond to all kinds of scenarios that the average citizen never will.

While I agree that everyone should get training, the truth of the matter is that state-mandated training rarely provides any real expertise in how to use a firearm in a self-defense situation. It may include a few scenarios to illustrate when you can and can’t shoot, but let’s not pretend that it’s training that can’t be had elsewhere.

And you can get better training.

And yes, things escalate. Which is more of a reason why someone shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to exercise their Second Amendment rights. They can escalate with someone who cares nothing about the law, who pulls a gun because you crossed them by accident, and there you are, stuck with no weapon because you’re obeying an archaic gun control law.

Sorry, that’s not really how you get ahead.

However, Portillo may own a gun, but he doesn’t speak for gun owners. Remember that he purchased a firearm in response to something awful, but that doesn’t mean he’s a pro-gun guy. He hasn’t talked with the gun community most likely and seen how we encourage people to get training and how we discuss the legal ramifications of shooting all the time.

Trust me, people get trained.

The issue, though, is that it shouldn’t be a requirement to get that training just to exercise a right. We don’t require civics education before registering to vote. We don’t require courses on the responsible use of free speech rights, either. Why does the Second Amendment require such hoops when literally no other right does?

Dec 08, 2021 12:30 PM ET