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A gun is your best ticket to the Texas State House

By CORRIE MacLAGGAN
February 12, 2011

The Glock 17: A VIP ticket in Texas

Security is newly tightened at the Texas Capitol, but plenty of gun-toting visitors can breeze right through.

Concealed handgun license holders walk through a special lane marked “CHL Access” around, and not through, the metal detectors put in place last year after a man fired shots outside the statehouse.

Schoolchildren and tourists, meanwhile, have to walk through metal detectors and put their bags and keys through scanners. One of the busiest times is now, when the legislature, which meets biennially, is convened.

Richard Robertson, a concealed handgun license holder who visited the Capitol on Saturday, is glad guns are allowed in the statehouse.

“It’s not the Wild West mentality where I’m hoping to get into a fight, but if some lunatic tries something, I’d feel better having the means to put an end to it,” said Robertson, general manager of a construction company in Austin.

“Around here, it’s not that big of a deal (to have a gun at the Capitol). Someone from out of state may think we’re a bunch of yahoos.”

Texas officials said that state troopers stationed at the checkpoints look at concealed handgun licenses to make sure they are valid.

“It’s not like they just whoosh on through,” said Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. Permit holders must undergo criminal background checks and take classes to get the licenses.

But they do move through quickly enough that lobbyists, and even some journalists, have signed up in droves for the $140 licenses, even if they have no intention of carrying a weapon into the statehouse.

The fear of getting stuck in line behind hundreds of schoolchildren led Carrie Kroll, director of advocacy and health policy for the Texas Pediatric Society, to get her concealed handgun license ahead of the legislative session.

“Do I think it’s silly?” Kroll asked. “Yes.”

She proposed that frequent visitors to the Capitol should have quicker access rather than using the CHL lanes.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican and one of the state’s more than 460,000 concealed handgun license holders, said he carries his gun at the Capitol nearly all the time.

It was Patrick’s office that gunman Fausto Cardenas visited before firing several shots on the Capitol steps last year. No one was injured, and Patrick was not there at the time.

“I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I don’t have the chance to defend myself, my family or my friends,” said Patrick, who is pushing legislation to allow concealed handguns on college campuses. “We live in a world where you can encounter danger at home or work or on the street.”

Carrying a license and a gun “tends to make you a little more aware, more alert,” he said.

Last year, Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who opposed the metal detectors at the Capitol entrances, had his .380 pistol with him while jogging in the Austin area and has said when he came across a coyote, he shot it dead.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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2 Responses to A gun is your best ticket to the Texas State House

  1. Carl Nemo

    February 13, 2011 at 12:42 am

    This might sound good to some folks, but to me it indicates what a sorry-assed state of affairs Texas and the nation at large finds itself.

    So all these ‘licensed’ individuals feel well about themselves no doubt. What happens when a single loon who’s walked through fully armed goes ballistic and takes out a number of people while all mayhem breaks loose with dozens if not a hundred men and women all pulling their pieces out and start shooting willy nilly at each other? Think it couldn’t happen, then think again. This activity has no place in a state house, courtroom or anywhere else that the business of the people is being conducted.

    What’s interesting about this trend is the old West became “tamed” by viglantes, lone sheriffs of posse’s led by the same along with tough butt territorial U.S. Marshals which in time produced a “civilizing effect” where it was expected that cowpokes et al. turn in their piece at the sheriff’s office or the saloon door while on the premises or in town. Fewer and fewer men toted handguns and by the time early police departments game into being the trend was not to be armed and eventually moved into the verboten zone as we have now, but it seems trends change and we’re now moving back to an uncivilized ‘Wild West’ paradigm in a country that should have shown some national maturity by now. Evidently not…!

    The reason our national society is degenerating is due to the fact we do not have a “kinder gentler” government to set an example, but one that is obsessed with engineering wars for profit, a failed ‘drug war’ along with 2.3 million presently incarcerated inmates in U.S. prisons even higher than the old Soviet Union at its peak when gulags were in vogue.

    Our government is corrupt, justice is corrupt to the point that it only operates for the interests of the stronger; I.E., the connected, wealthy one’s that now run and own America lock, stock and barrel. Truly a sterling example for the citizens…no?

    ***

    As of June 2009, 2,297,400 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails. In addition, there were 92,854 held in juvenile facilities as of the 2006 Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP), conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.[10][11] …courtesy of Wikipedia

    ***
    There’s nothing cute about this epidemic of concealed carry ‘nuts’ nationwide. I’m not anti-gun either, but am anti-stupidity and this demonstrates a grim pattern for the nation. Seemingly we have a better chance for finding a cure for cancer than stupidity in these end times for the Republic.

    When Americans finally realize their money is worthless, there’s no retirement or social safety net check either deposited or in the mail and the rioting in the streets commences with everyone armed to the teeth they can simply euthanize not only themselves, but the nation at large while the wealthy, cunning one’s that created this terminal national nightmare, residing in their safe, distant, gated enclaves, mountain retreats or taxpayer povided bunkers can all make inane comments about the riffraff doing themselves while they sip on latte’s or whatever their favorite beverage watching the nightmare playout on their satellite fed HDTV’s. / : |

    *****

    “The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that the end justifies the means — to declare that the government may commit crimes — would bring terrible retribution.” …Justice Louis D. Brandeis

    *****

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Carl Nemo

    February 16, 2011 at 1:32 am

    “Last year, Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who opposed the metal detectors at the Capitol entrances, had his .380 pistol with him while jogging in the Austin area and has said when he came across a coyote, he shot it dead.” …extract from article

    After rereading this article, the last paragraph stood out in my mind. The Republican governor is jogging with his .380 pistol, then coming across a coyote, shot it dead, then is seemingly proud of his act. No mention is made if the coyote was threatening, extremely rare unless diseased to the point of becoming aggressive and dangerous. Hey, he’s got a CHL, can shoot evidently straight, therefore he’s the master over life and death linked to his myopic view of where he sits in the order all creation. Obviously a waste compared to the coyote. He’s a human politician which is hard to compare to a creature that will no doubt outsurvive humankind.

    The American coyote is a beautiful creature. I have at least three clans patrolling my land and the surrounding area. To hear them ‘sing’ after a kill or simply engaging in pack vocalizations is both a chilling and wondrous sound to behold especially on a moonlit night. I’ve witnessed coyote mothers demonstrating techniques of the wild to her young. So too, just about everything is ‘cute’ when its young no…? :D

    So I visualize this testosterone driven, knuckle dragging troglodyte with his .380 auto dusting a living creature who’s carcass was infinitely more valuable relative to his; i.e, a Republican governor with all his human weaknesses and flaws. If he had to survive without his ‘gun” he most likely couldn’t snare a rabbit much less catch a mouse. He’s surely not functioning as a “good animal” should. But these are the types that folks elect to ‘lead them’…scary indeed. / : |

    Seemingly he reflects the general sentiment of Texans. I’ve been there a number of times. My great grandparents homesteaded in both the Houston and San Antonio area in the 1870’s. I’m not impressed. The terrain is boring while its political and business environment is a corrupt good ol’ boy network to the core. It’s been the ‘birthing ground’ of too many modern era presidential disappointments too; I.E., LBJ and two Bushes. / : |

    Carl Nemo **==