On an early September morning in the small Southwest Texas town of Balmorhea, locals gathered around attentively listening to Rachel Malone, the new Texas Director for Gun Owners of America. The event was one of a series of “Learn to Testify” events held by Malone across the state, aimed at engaging Texans and teaching them how to affectively make their voices heard in the upcoming legislative session.

The program focuses on teaching everyday citizens the essential mechanics of finding and monitoring legislation, speaking with your representatives, and registering to testify before committees. Also included in the presentation is an examination of the many tricks lawmakers use to kill legislation, allowing citizens to be better prepared at holding their representatives accountable.

The hiring of Malone, a long-time grassroots activist, firearms expert, and former director of the Republican Party of Texas, serves as a strong indication that GOA plans on making a major presence in the Texas political scene–a presence that will be heartily welcomed by conservatives who have been working at overcoming the blockade of Republican reforms by the Austin establishment.

“People think of Texas as one of the top pro-gun states. We don’t deserve that reputation,” Malone stated. “A quarter of the states recognize constitutional carry, but Texas isn’t among them. Over 30 states allow unlicensed open carry, but not Texas.” 

Earlier this year, delegates to the Republican Party State Convention once again adopted constitutional carry as one of the priority pieces of legislation for the upcoming legislature to finally take up and pass, and GOA is proving to be a unique alley for the grassroots who want to see these measures become law. In discussing her organization’s grassroots outreach efforts with the Texas Scorecard, Malone elaborated stating, “I am teaching the legislative process to the grassroots because everyday Texans are the ones most qualified to give their own opinion to the legislators.”

With the legislative session right around the corner, Malone’s calendar is booking up with “Learn to Testify” events scheduled across Texas for the rest of the year. Those interested in attending can find a complete listing of the events by going to www.gunownerstx.org. You can also find the events listed on the Gun Owners of America Facebook page.

Matt Stringer

Matthew Stringer is from Odessa, TX and serves as a West Texas Correspondent for Texas Scorecard.