I consider myself to be as much a representative of a true Texan as anybody I know, but I have to confess to one shortcoming: I just don’t get the gun culture, and I don’t think I ever will. That’s not to say that I don’t like shooting. I was Deadeye Dick at my CHL class, scoring 236 out of a possible 250 with a borrowed Glock. But I don’t own a gun and have no plans to get one. I know that the vast majority of gun owners are people just like me, but my experience in my CHL class confirmed once again that there is a small segment of gun enthusists who are some of the most paranoid people I have ever encountered. They are absolutely certain that a government agent will knock on their door at any moment and seize their private arsenal. If someone handed me a flier that declared, “Get your guns & Head to San Antonio,” I would probably get in my car and head for Dallas as fast as I could.
Except, people are being urged to head to San Antonio tomorrow to do that exact thing. According to the New York Times, “Hundreds of armed demonstrators are planning to converge on the Alamo in San Antonio on Saturday morning to test the limits of the gun laws in one of the most gun-friendly states in the country, by openly carrying their shotguns, assault weapons, and other types of rifles in public.” The story continues, “Amid a heavy police presence, more than 1,000 men and women carrying loaded rifles over their shoulders are expected to assemble at the site of the historic gun battle in one of the busiest sections of downtown.”
You may ask “why?” The gun advocates’ answer is that they have a simple goal — to remind ordinary citizens and law enforcement officials that they are allowed in Texas to legally and openly carry what are known as “long guns.” It is going to be quite a sight, all those people at the Cradle of Texas Liberty toting guns of all types. The real agenda of the organizers, I suspect, is not just to remind their fellow citizens of their Second Amendment Rights, but also to agitate for open-carry legislation that would allow gun owners with concealed-carry permits to wear their handguns unconcealed, Old West style, anywhere in the state.
When the conversation turns to guns in Texas, the most outspoken politician I know is Jerry Patterson, the commissioner of the General Land Office who is running for lieutenant governor. Patterson, who will be speaking at the rally, wrote the state law that legalized the carrying of concealed handguns, and he distributed an op-ed about the event earlier this week. Here’s a sample of what he said:
“The last time hundreds of Texans showed up at the Alamo with rifles, they were hailed as heroes in their stand against a tyrannical government. Texas–and Texans–have changed a lot since then. But the fundamental, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, hasn’t.
The main goal of today’s rally at the Alamo is simple: The peaceful exercise of a right we fear losing.”
Hence the paranoia of the gun owner, the ever-present fear of the gun-confiscating federal agent, which some politicians are eager to exploit. I would just say this: There is no chance that gun owners are in danger of losing their Second Amendment rights.
AP Photo | David J. Phillip