Regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s proposal to address gun violence in our society, the rest of the nation is likely to follow Texas’ lead, for better or worse. It is critical then – in addition to improving public safety while protecting our liberties – that Texas gets this right.
First, any proposed legislation should do no harm. Regulatory proposals following a mass murder make Texas more vulnerable to error and more likely to submit to greater harm because of the knee jerk, politically inspired urge to “do something.”
An emotional response is not likely to be the most effective way to actually improve the safety of Texans and our children.
This concern was validated after viewing testimony given to the Texas Legislature’s House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. My concern regarding “do no harm” was actually made evident by an advocate for Abbott’s proposed regulations.
Testimony highlighted the large number of stolen weapons from unattended vehicles. Nationally, criminals steal over 300,000 weapons annually. Interestingly, Texas law currently requires citizens without a state-issued license to leave their weapon in their unattended vehicle, rather than carrying it openly or concealed securely on their person.
If gun laws were less restrictive – and free and sovereign citizens could more easily carry their weapons securely on their person – it would reduce the probability of criminals stealing weapons from unattended vehicles, while improving citizens’ personal safety.
Preventing law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons securely on their person has done harm; it has made it easier for criminals to steal weapons.
What about the proposed idea of declaring “Red Flags” – without due process – as a warning for people labeled suspicious? Of course, law enforcement prefers citizens keep their eyes open and be a positive source in public to warn of and possibly prevent criminal acts. Connecting this positive act to a potential punishment will only bring out the worst of our instincts.
I see the idea of “red flags” to take away weapons as, at best, a foolish idea. Why provide a means for government officials or employees to make retribution, jealousy, hatred, and anything non-virtuous a hobby? We should not legislate the authority for citizens to deem others suspicious. Red Flag legislation empowers further acts of injustice to become unleashed based on the failed belief that gun confiscation – without due process – will lead to an improvement in public safety.
Finally, who can still advocate for the failed notion that gun-free zones are somehow a statement of pride rather than a prime target for criminal activity? We all understand how placing a security company sign in your front yard is a deterrent for criminals. So, who still believes that publicizing gun-free zones could ever be anything other than an invitation for criminal acts, especially for someone who premeditates the use of a weapon to harm others. Signs should read “Zero Tolerance for Criminal Activity” or “This is NOT a Gun Free Zone.”
In how many schools have troubled kids known they could go to a “gun-free zone” – their own school – and harm others because there would be no one present with a weapon to stop them?
Legislative proposals should not be a political decision aimed at pleasing those with the loudest voices. “Gun Control” is a false narrative that does nothing to address the real problems posed to the safety of Texans and their children.
In each and every case of mass shootings – regardless of the locations (churches, schools, theaters, restaurants, concerts) – the shooter didn’t stop shooting until someone with a weapon showed up to meet them with deadly force. We should be ready and able to promote and defend the importance of reforms that improve school security, including but not limited to the arming of law-abiding Texans.
We must be vigilant to support only those policies that simultaneously improve public safety and protect the liberties of a free and sovereign people. As always, the rest of the nation is likely to follow Texas’ lead, for better or worse.
This is an outside commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to [email protected]