Gun laws--Texas vs. California

Priscilla Jones:
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The common thread that runs through the gun control debate and these individual examples of firearms abuse is fear. A novice gun owner would fire upon an unidentified target if gripped with fear. The police shoot first and identify later when they are afraid for their lives and value their lives over yours. Gun control activists and lawmakers fight for increased restrictions because they are afraid they might be killed in their sleep by a burglar with an unregistered or scary-looking gun.

Put yourself in the shoes of a defenseless, innocent person hiding from a madman, a policeman, or both. To be unarmed (or even under-armed) in that situation is rightfully terrifying. American tradition has long favored the right of the citizen to protect himself, his family, and his property against all enemies foreign or domestic. Capable citizens of sound mind are “allowed” to do this better in some states than in others.

Let’s look to trendsetting California, the state vying for the strictest gun laws in the country, to see how the gun control experiment is working. Recently, a young man from the upscale master-planned community of Ladera Ranch took Joe Biden’s home defense weapon of choice on a morning joy ride through neighboring towns. His final death wish day consisted of carjacking commuters and killing them. One of his victims was a 26-year-old plumber working on a job site in Tustin. An NRA pistol instructor observed the shooter’s blood-streaked sidewalk suicide scene from his office window and commented that the unarmed plumber sadly did not have the chance to defend his own life. “Ludicrous” is how he described this latest shooting rampage.

California residents who want to protect themselves on the road but remain inside the law have their work cut out for them. Carrying openly is banned, and obtaining a conceal carry permit (CCW) in The Golden State is tricky. A CCW seeker’s first step is to stake out the local police department to see how often it approves applications. If it has a reputation for being miserly with CCW issuance, it is wise to apply through the County Sheriff and emphasize on the application that a dangerous job (e.g., as a plumber in Tustin) is the reason increased security is needed.

The simple desire to protect oneself and family is not considered “good cause” to get a CCW in California. If the county denies the request, the last hope to legally protect oneself with a handgun is to know someone on the inside. Buy a few drinks for the County Sheriff or donate to his re-election campaign. He might be more inclined to write one of the glowing letters of reference needed in the CCW application process.

1776 miles southeast of Sacramento lies the capital of a state 104,885 square miles larger than California – Austin, Texas. The Lone Star State has also seen its share of heartache at the end of a deranged gunman’s barrel. The 1991 Luby’s Cafeteria shooting in Killeen left 23 people dead and catapulted the passage of new laws allowing residents to carry concealed handguns with a license (CHL). On December 16, 2012, San Antonio was the location of a movie theater shooting spree that ended when an alert and armed off-duty police officer shot and disabled the gunmen; there were no fatalities to report.

Far fewer people die in rampage shootings when stopped by a proactive, armed citizen.

Texas gun laws are among the most lenient and reasonable in the nation. In 2007, Texas passed the “peaceable journey” law allowing residents to carry a concealed weapon in their car without a CHL or other permit. This was widely celebrated by Texans who believe ordinary citizens should not have to seek permission from the government to exercise a constitutional right.

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There is much more.

Jones is also critical of VP Biden's shotgun advice.  I agree with her on that.  Shotguns can carry quite a kick, especially for someone not used to firing them.  I think the Texas concealed carry law has been very effective at reducing crime.  Texas has one of the lowest murder rates in the country and crime started dropping as soon as the bill passed.  Note the post above on the effectiveness of the Texas castle doctrine.

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