This approach solves many of the issues that have plagued firearms legislation in the past. For example, under permit-required open carry like in Oklahoma many people have raised 4th amendment objections based on the fact that;
- in order to determine if someone has a permit requires interaction between law enforcement and the person “legally” open carrying,
- the person open carrying would be unnecessarily detained for this interaction, and
- that detention and interaction would be without probably cause, because open carry being “legal” would not be justification in and of itself.
Now some may argue that the same would be true in law enforcement trying to determine if someone who is open carrying may or may not be “legally” able to even own a gun, under federal standards. The difference is, that there is no documentation required to be carried by those who are “prohibited possession” of a firearm. Specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1-9) prohibits the following from possessing, shipping/ transporting, or receiving any firearm or ammunition:
- a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year;
- a person who is a fugitive from justice;
- a person who is an unlawful user of or who is addicted to a controlled substance;
- a person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been admitted to a mental institution;
- an alien who is unlawfully in the United States or who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
- a person who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
- a person who, having been a citizen of the United States, renounces his citizenship;
- a person subject to a court order that was issued after a hearing in which the person participated, which order restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or partner’s child, and which order includes a finding that the person is a credible threat to such partner or partner’s child, or by its terms prohibits the use, attempted use or threatened use of such force against such partner or partner’s child;
- a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
So, unless the individual is known by the law enforcement officer to be in one of the above categories, i.e. known criminal, known drug user/dealer, etc… then they must judge their probable cause based on behavior and actions for engagement with an individual rather than the mere open carry of a firearm alone. The presumption of innocence must be the prevailing ideal instead of a presumption of guilt at the sight of a legally owned and openly carried firearm. HB195 still leaves open to the citizen to carry in whatever manner is most comfortable for them, be it open or concealed. There are many arguments in favor and against each practice, for example difficulty of concealment especially in the hot Texas summer or discretion in some areas like church and other places where concealment might be preferred. In the end, it comes down to rights and freedoms. Until the passage of the Texas Concealed Handgun Law in 1996, Texans had been effectively disarmed in public since post-Civil War Reconstruction other than the unrestricted carry of long guns and pre-1899 black powder pistols. Neither of which are especially convenient or effective self defense weapons in a public setting. HB195 will effectively reverse that nearly 140 year Reconstruction Era disarmament that was originally imposed to keep newly freed slaves and Southern rebels disarmed. The main obstacle to HB195 appears to be Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, who many have described as the “Harry Reid of the Texas Legislature.” As the legislature begins it’s 2015 session, Speaker Straus also faces a challenger in the form of Scott Turner for the Speakership. In short, the 84th session of the Texas Legislature promises to be an interesting and potentially history making session. The outcome of HB195 and the race for Speaker of the House could well hinge on the involvement of the citizens themselves.
Grassroots Resolution Adopted By Texas Republican Convention
If passed, HB195 could become a blueprint for other states to follow in restoring the rights of their citizens. Not only in the language of the bill, but in how it came to even be considered. Both HB195 and support for Scott Turner as Speaker have been virtually completely grass roots driven. The citizens of Texas seem to have had their fill of ineffectual representatives and even the “big names” in the gun rights lobby. The success of these endeavors, having been promoted and propagated by citizen activism and involvement may in itself be a model for other states to follow as well. Only time will tell, but if you support HB195 then it is up to you Texans to push it through. This is legislation Of The People, By The People and For The People and a drastic departure from the typical politics and lobby game that has so many people jaded against the political process. This may well be the test of whether the “power of the people” still remains in the Great State of Texas and America as a whole.
For more information on the event Jan. 13, 2015 at the Capital and to sign the petition in support of HB195, visit:
Jon Britton aka DoubleTap is Chief Operating Officer of CDH, Inc., a regular contributing author and regularly involved in most aspects of their social media. “Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion.” A passion that has taken him in many directions from explorations of the zombie subculture and zombie stories to political advocacy. Joining the U.S. Air Force right out of high school, Jon had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the world and different cultures. His post military career path, both white collar and blue collar, allowed him to work alongside both CEOs and average Joes. As a founding member Cold Dead Hands his study of human nature and writing ability found a purpose. His zombie roots provided a variety of issues from prepping to human behavior under crisis to firearms that he applies to his advocacy for gun rights. A ravenous appetite for the study of history combined with his current events political junkie addiction led to him writing an e-book Gun Sense: Past, Present and Future.