The Meaning of “About the Person”

Note: this post deals predominantly with open carry. Concealed carry is legal without a license anywhere in a vehicle in Texas.

I’ve seen a lot of debate among people about whether Texas law allows a person to carry a holstered firearm on the seat next to him or in a cupholder or some other place that is not directly on the person. Before I go any further, I want to make very clear that I am NOT giving legal advice. I am not an attorney.

Texas Penal Code 46.02(a)(1) states that “A person commits an offense if the person…intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun…” The code then goes on to state that the exception to this is having a license to carry. Section 46.02(a-1)(1) discusses handguns in a vehicle: “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control at any time in which…the handgun is in plain view, unless the person is licensed to carry a handgun.”

The point of contention is the part where the law says the gun has to be “carried” in a way that is “on or about the person.” People unfamiliar with legal language and common law can’t grasp the concept that, under the law, you don’t have to physically bear the weight of something to “carry” it. This should be obvious in the way the law is worded. It doesn’t just say carried “on the person.” It adds the clause “about the person.” If “on” and “about” meant the same thing, the legislature wouldn’t have included both words. But it did, and people are confused for some reason still.

Remember that during Reconstruction the Democrats were really worried about armed black people. The 1876 Texas Constitution was worded to include ways with which the legislature could potentially restrict firearms – “with a view to prevent crime.” Just prior to our Constitution being ratified, the Democrats passed the first law to ban open and concealed carry to keep the “newly freed slaves and Mexicans” from arming themselves. The law was titled “An Act to Regulate the Keeping and Bearing of Deadly Weapons, Law of April 12, 1871, ch. 34, §1, 1871 Tex. Gen. Laws 25.” The law specifically banned “any person [from] carrying on or about his person, saddle, or in his saddle bags, any pistol, dirk, dagger, slung-shot, sword-cane, spear, brass-knuckles, bowie-knife, or any other kind of knife manufactured or sold for the purposes of offense or defense.” This law remained relatively unchanged until 1995 when the concealed carry law was passed.

In 1909, a man was convicted for having a pistol under the seat of his buggy. He wasn’t carrying it, but it was about his person. See Leonard v. State, 56 Tex. Crim. 84, 119 S.W. 98 (1909). In 1914, a man was also convicted and fined for having a pistol under his seat because the State considered it “carried” on his buggy. See Mayfield v. State, 75 Tex. Crim. 103, 170 S.W. 308 (1914).

There were also a few cases that were contrary to these cases. An 1897 conviction was overturned when the Court found that having a pistol in the front end of a wagon in which defendant was riding was not ‘about’ the person. See Hardy v. State, 37 Tex. Crim. 511, 40 S.W. 299 (1897). Another case held that having a pistol in a wagon about half-way between the seat and the rear end is not carrying ‘about the person.’ See Thompson v. State, 48 Tex. Crim. 146, 86 S.W. 1033 (1905). So, obviously this issue needed to be resolved.

In 1916, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the Supreme Court in Texas for criminal cases) heard a Houston case that addressed the very language of what constituted “on or about the person.” Wagner v. State, 80 Tex. Crim. 66, 188 S.W. 1001 (1916). Wagner was charged with carrying a pistol about his person and at his jury trial was found guilty and fined $100. Now, I won’t get into the defendant’s story about how it got there because it’s irrelevant to this discussion. Wagner appealed the sufficiency of the evidence.

His main argument was that he was never seen with the gun and never picked it up, so he wasn’t “carrying” it. Witnesses testified that they had not seen him with the gun either. The Wagner court finally settled the issue of what constituted “about the person”:

The Legislature must have meant something when it used the words ‘or about the person,’ and on principle using the word ‘about’…be held to mean, within the pistol statute, near by, close at hand, convenient of access, and within such distance of the party so having it as that such party could without materially changing his position get his hand on it…

When applied to persons occupying vehicles, the phrase “on or about the person” has been expanded to include the area “near by, close at hand, convenient of access, and within such distance of the party so that, without materially changing his position, the party could get his hand on it.” See Courtney v. State, 424 S.W.2d 440, 441 (Tex. Crim. App. 1968). In 1993, this definition was again used as cannon. Contreras v. State, 853 S.W.2d 694 (Tex. App. 1993).

So there you have it. The law allows you to openly carry a holstered handgun that is carried on or about the person in your vehicle. The courts have already held that this applies to the holstered handgun being on the seat or anywhere in one’s vehicle provided he doesn’t “materially chang[e] his position get his hand on it.” In other words, a court would likely find that an openly holstered handgun in the third row of a minivan probably isn’t “about the person.” But, having a holstered handgun in the seat next to you, between the seats, in the cupholder, on the dashboard, etc., fit perfectly within Texas common law for “on or about the person.”

So Called Red Flag Laws Are Evil and Sinister

This right here is why I oppose “red flag” laws.

First of all, NEVER answer questions from a cop or any government official on your doorstep unless you called them and then only answer questions specifically related to the reason you called them. NEVER talk about whether you have guns or how many are in your home. NEVER allow police into your home without a warrant. NEVER. I got this from a friend’s recent Facebook post:

From before red flag laws. Can you imagine the abuse with red flag laws? Why do I oppose “Red Flag” laws?

About 15 years ago, my former spouse was in a very bad spot. We had been divorced for 14 years and she was in the process of getting her home foreclosed on. With little and no job, she facing homelessness. Our divorce was much like our marriage, bitter. She had custody of my oldest son and knew that I would likely sue her for custody when I found out that she was homeless. She did two things. She arranged a move into a family homeless shelter, and she dropped a bomb on me.

My Ex-wife filed a petition for a restraining order against me, not for anything that I did to her, but for what she alleged that I did to my son 2 years earlier. She said that I hit him during an argument. For the record, I have never abused any of my children. She knew that the Department of Children and Families wouldn’t investigate me as too much time had passed and that they wouldn’t find any evidence to support her claim, anyways. She found out that by filing for a restraining order, her location would become secret, and that I wouldn’t be able to serve her, much less get her in front of a Judge if there was an active restraining order against me. It was a perfect plan to keep custody of our son, to continue to collect child support, and to stick it to me bad. She set out to Red Flag me.

A Sheriff’s Deputy knocked on my door. When I answered, I honestly thought that I was being served with papers for an increase in child support from her as I didn’t even know her situation, much less her allegations against me. This was a Monday afternoon, and my son had just spent the weekend with me, going home just 20 hours before. I had no clue. The Deputy presented the papers to me, and I was floored. She asked me if I had any firearms in the house. I was an FFL holder at the time, and told her so. I was asked to step outside. She made a call. Within 5 minutes, I had 3 additional police cars in front of my house. A total of 5 officers were in my home. I was ordered to open my safes and hand in my Log Book. They confiscated over 100 firearms, and more than 25k rounds of ammunition. After they loaded up everything that could find, I was given a court date to appear in front of a Judge in 14 days. My Concealed Weapon License was suspended, and the ATF was notified that my firearms and Log book were confiscated. I contacted an attorney, and told to wait until the court date as there was nothing that could be done until the hearing in two weeks.

I appeared in court for the hearing. There was zero evidence against me. My son wasn’t even allowed to testify for or against me. My fate relied totally on credibility. It turned out that I had more than her when I showed my spotless criminal record, my military record, my FBI background check results, and my numerous bonds from my employer. The Judge had no choice but to dismiss her petition, and relieve me of the restraining order. I was in for a rude wakening when I found out that it didn’t end there.

After the hearing, I took the dismissal notice, and the inventory sheet to the Sheriff’s office so that I could retrieve my firearms and ammo. They told me that they couldn’t “Just give them to me” and that I would have to sue them for my guns back. So, back to the attorney’s office I went. I filed a petition with the court against the Sheriff’s Office. A blazing fast 8 weeks later, I was able to get in front of a Judge again. He reviewed the case and granted my petition. The Sheriff’s Office had 30 days to return my property. On day 29, I got the call that I was good to go, and could pick up my stuff. Five of my guns and about 5k rounds of ammo disappeared while in custody. All my firearms had been fired for ballistics testing. None were cleaned. All were beat up, scratched, dinged, and marked with paint markers. I was told that I could file a claim with the County. I was told by my attorney that the Sheriff’s Office never loses and it would cost $5-10k in fees to try. This would have been in addition to the $2500 I had already spent.

In short, my Ex-Wife abused the system to her advantage, and used the court system to deny me my rights. My family and I were left defenseless for 3 months. The entire interaction with the police could have turned very bad in a hurry. Had this same thing happened in today’s political environment, I would have likely been served by a SWAT team. Yeah, I oppose “Red Flag” laws. It’s personal to me. I have been Red Flagged before. It is a process without any due process where all it takes is an unfounded allegation to destroy another person’s life.

Texas Cops Continue Violating First Amendment in How They Enforce 42.01(a)(1)

I’m writing this after viewing this video by James Freeman.

This kind of stuff is why I’m in law school. In Texas, there is a statute still the books that makes it a “crime” to use “abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace” (Penal Code Section 42.01(a)(1)).

In Cohen v California (403 U.S. 15), the Supreme Court addressed a nearly identical California statute where a man was prosecuted for wearing a shirt that said “Fuck the Draft” and “Stop War.” The court held in that 1971 case that it

“cannot indulge the facile assumption that one can forbid particular words without also running a substantial risk of suppressing ideas in the process. Indeed, governments might soon seize upon the censorship of particular words as a convenient guise for banning the expression of unpopular views. We have been able, as noted above, to discern little social benefit that might result from running the risk of opening the door to such grave results.

“It is, in sum, our judgment that, absent a more particularized and compelling reason for its actions, the State may not, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, make the simple public display here involved of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense.”

And yet, in 1993, when the state of Texas restructured it’s penal code, it failed to remove or clarify this statute that had already been essentially nullified by common law.

While 42.01(a)(1) hasn’t been deemed unconstitutional as a whole, it has been determined via several cases to only apply to the narrowly constricted “fighting words” exception. In S v. Hazlewood, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50983 the district court heard a case involving a dispute between a husband and wife in which the wife was telling cops to “fuck you” and calling them “motherfucker.” The cops arrested her for disorderly conduct. The state argued that because “bank employees and passersby were disrupted from their daily routines because of Mrs. Hazlewood’s behavior,” was was in violation of 42.01(a)(1). The court found differently under the “fighting words” requirement. Several court findings have limited the scope of this section to “fighting words.” See Duran v. Furr’s Supermarkets, Inc., 921 S.W.2d 778; Jimmerson v. State, 561 S.W.2d 5; and Estes, 660 S.W.2d at 875. Hazelwood specifically found that the use of “fuck” does not invite the public (nor officers, who are held to a higher standard) to violence as required by the statute (though not specifically stated in the plain language).The language uttered must specifically do that.

Yet, the officer himself said this isn’t the case. He specifically said that, “when you’re displaying these signs and people are calling because that is offensive to them, that is a crime.” Actually no it’s not. The cases above make that perfectly clear. Offensive speech is specifically protected as shown in Cohen above unless it incites the public to violence. Obviously, this wasn’t the case here because merely called allegedly because they were offended.

In this video, the initial cop even makes a statement that “I’ve already heard you say a cussword [sic] once, so…” as if using profanity in the presence of a cop were also a crime. The police fall under a much higher standard than the public for what constitutes disorderly conduct and “fighting words.” They are expected to take a higher level of verbal abuse than the general public by the nature of their jobs. “The First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers.” City of Houston, Tex. v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 461. The 5th Circuit endorsed Hill by highlighting that “[A] properly trained police officer may reasonably be expected to ‘exercise a higher degree of restraint’ than the average citizen, and thus be less likely to respond belligerently to ‘fighting words.'” Enlow v. Tishomingo County, 962 F.2d 501, 509 (5th Cir. 1992). See also Lewis v. City of New Orleans, 415 U.S. 130, 94 S. Ct. 970, 39 L. Ed. 2d 214 (1974), which quoted Hill affirming yet another case.

The problem we have in Texas is (1) a lack of training and (2) a lack of attention by the Texas legislature to incorporate Court ruling into a revised and unimplied statute. In the Estes case mentioned above, the court found that “[t]he generally accepted definition of breach of the peace, and the one used by the court in this case, includes the admonition to the jury that cactual or threatened violence is an essential element of a breach of the peace.'” Quoting Woods v. State, 152 Tex. Crim. 338, 213 S.W.2d 685 (1948). The “fighting words” exception to the 1st Amendment was adopted in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 62 S. Ct. 766, 86 L. Ed. 1031 (1942). Then, in Woods v. State, 152 Tex. Crim. 338, 213 S.W.2d 685, 687 (1948) the court held that “actual or threatened violence is an essential element of a breach of the peace.” Using these cases, the Estes court didn’t completely invalidate 42.01(a)(1), but instead simply clarified that only “fighting words” and “actual or threatened violence” constituted a violation of the statute, not mere profanity or the existence of an offended person in public. The Hazelwood court applied these standards to speech against cops and added the element that cops are held to an even higher standard. So, the fact that Otto uttered a profanity in the presence of the cop is irrelevant.

Cops aren’t generally very intelligent about the law. They don’t concern themselves with precedents and what courts are doing until their higher powers drill it into their heads or the legislature changes the plain language of the law. They are not paid to understand the law; they’re paid to read it. They subscribe to the philosophy not of doing the right thing, but “you may beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.” They cannot stomach being offended, the law be damned. They will use their power to get you one way or the other.

The solution is simple here. The state needs to fix the disorderly conduct statute in many ways and also the failure to ID statute. The other solution is that CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas), those utterly despicable excuses for humanity, needs to train law enforcement departments about the common law related to 42.01(a)(1).

LDS Church Just Told Me That My Life is Unimportant

I don’t talk much about my church. I’ve mentioned it when necessary on this site, but only to reiterate why I believe a certain way on certain things. I’ve never, that I can recall, written a post strictly related to my faith. I tend to keep that personal or to only discuss in person. However, I’m making an exception today because my church has made a policy decision that fundamentally changes how I will worship. This post is not being written to debate my Christianity or your opinions on my religion. I won’t debate whether you think the LDS Church is good or bad. I don’t care what you think about that. Any comments that attack my faith will not be approved, simple as that.

I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I joined this church on my 19th birthday after much contemplation, prayer, and study. Prior to my conversion, I was a Baptist. And a Presbyterian. And a Methodist. And a Lutheran. And a Catholic. I’ve been baptized in search of truth more than John the Baptist probably performed baptisms! It wasn’t until I began looking into the LDS church that I found what fit into my understanding and prayerful consideration of the Bible (again, this is MY understanding, not yours and I won’t debate that here).

One of the things I really liked about the church – aside from the doctrinal issues I agreed with – was that the church was a fairly conservative faith. We believed in defense of life. We valued the liberties enshrined in the Constitution. We believed in helping to better our communities. There was never a shortage of people to go shooting with. And, above all, I was allowed to defend myself should the need arise.

I’m not what people would probably consider a “model Mormon.” I’m rough around the edges. I was a hell-raiser prior to joining the church and that obviously never dissipated. I didn’t wear my religion on my sleeve by constantly seeking or seizing opportunities to talk about the Book of Mormon or church doctrine. For a brief time back in the AOL days, I did run a chat room called “Ask a Mormon.” Because I had done so much personal research before joining the church, I wanted to share that information with people who had legitimate questions about our beliefs. Other than that, I pretty much didn’t discuss religion in public except when necessary to explain why I didn’t do some things or did others (like drinking coffee or engaging in political activities on Sundays).

Unfortunately, my relationship with the church was drastically changed today.

LDS Church memo on guns in … by The Salt Lake Tribune on Scribd

There is a (wrongheaded) school of thought within the Christian community that we are supposed to turn the other cheek. The theory goes that guns kill people and we shouldn’t kill people under any circumstances. Much of this theory is predicated on the teachings of Matthew where “You have heard that it was said ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, but I say to you, ‘Do not resist the one who is evil, but if anyone slaps on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.’” The problem is that this is often interpreted literally – that someone is literally using their hand and smacking us in the face. I read that as we should ignore those who insult us. I doubt very seriously that Christ was literal earlier in that chapter where he was talking about adultery and advising that we rip out our eyes if we find ourselves looking upon women with lust. I don’t think he meant that we literally rip out our eyes, but that we change our habits so that we refrain from this sort of sin.

In the Garden of Gethsemane (and elsewhere), Christ’s disciples had swords with them. For what use if not for self-defense? That’s what swords were for back then just as guns are used today. Obviously, Christ believed in possessing the tools to defend the lives He gave us or he would have forbidden his disciples from even carrying these tools around him. I find it hard to believe that Christ ever believed Christians should simply sit back and die when our lives are endangered. He wasn’t a complete pacifist as the turning of the changing tables in the temple indicates. We are counseled to be peacemakers, but sometimes to make peace you have to defeat a legitimate threat. At the end of the Book of Esther, the tyrannical king allowed the Jews organize to in self-defense “to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them.” Did they “turn the other cheek” and allow their enemies to simply slaughter them defenselessly? No, they “smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword” (Esther 9:5).

I find it offensive and unChristian that ANY church leader would prefer that their sheep be defenseless and senselessly slaughtered for some greater good. Changes in the Church handbook state that “[c]hurches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world.” That sounds great on paper, but do you think the people that want to murder us care what churches are dedicated for? Do you think Devin Patrick Kelley cared that the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs was “dedicated for the worship of God?” Thank the Lord that Stephen Williford was able to engage with the shooter and stop him from killing more people than he had already slaughtered!

Do you think that Matthew Murray cared that the New Life Church in Colorado Springs was a “haven from the cares and concerns of the world?!” He was able to kill two church members and injure two others before Jeanne Assam shot him and stopped the slaughter. Should she have just “turned the other cheek?”

And what about Emanuel Kidega Samson who opened fire on the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, killing one and injuring seven others? Do you think he was there to worship God? Thankfully, an usher named Robert Engle was there to confront the shooter who had to run out to his car to get his gun. Do you think he could have stopped the shooter sooner had he had his gun on him and those people may still be alive? After being pistol whipped by Samson, should Engle have simply “turned the other cheek” and expected to be pistol whipped again?

And let’s get more personal. Last year, John O’Connor entered an LDS church in Fallon, Nevada, and opened fire, killing one man and injuring another. It was a targeted attack and the shooter immediately fled the scene and ran to his home. I don’t know if anyone was armed at the time or even had a chance to respond if they were since O’Connor appears to have been targeting a specific individual, but shouldn’t members have at least the opportunity to defend themselves in these situations?

In 2010, Kenneth Ward entered an LDS church in Visalia, California, and gunned down the bishop during services in what looked to be another targeted attack. Shouldn’t our bishops and their congregations have the ability to protect themselves from people—possibly disaffected members—who may want to kill them because they feel as if they’ve been slighted? Or should our bishops just “turn the other cheek” and we can simply call another bishop to take his place?! I’m sorry, but that’s asinine. It’s completely ignorant to think that our buildings are these Utopian places of worship where evil can never exist and no harm will ever come of us, especially in these modern times where people can’t simply disagree or offended in peace, but resort to violence to solve their differences.

Yes, our churches are dedicated to worship and are places where we SHOULDN’T have to worry about the cares of the world, but when the cares of the world invade that space, then what? There is no magical shield around LDS meeting houses that protects us from outside’s evil.

In 1994, while I was in San Antonio and just before I joined the Army, I was attending a Fast & Testimony meeting. I was sitting up on the pulpit waiting my turn to share my testimony of the gospel when a female member of the ward got up to bear her testimony. Immediately, a man in the back of the congregation either stood up or walked into the room and began yelling at the woman and imploring her to come back to him. It was an extremely intense incident and when some brethren tried to quiet him down and get him to walk outside the room, he got aggressive and had to be physically removed. Needless to say, the bishop had to end the meeting at that point because the spirit had been drained by the incident. What if he had a gun? What if he intended violence? I was literally sitting in the chair next to where she was addressing the congregation. Could I have been killed?

To add insult to injury, the Church memo stated that law enforcement officers can carry guns in church, but no one else can. Well, that’s quite confusing to me. If a church is “dedicated for the worship of God and [are] havens from the cares and concerns of the world” what makes a police officer’s gun somehow exempted from this policy versus me having one. We both have them for the same purpose – self-defense. Ostensibly, the officer isn’t there to kill anyone and neither am I. I’m just as well trained as (or better) than any cop! In fact, cops don’t actually have that much training comparative to licensed gun owners, most of whom practice regularly, many of whom have taken many advanced self-defense course, and some whom teach them (to cops, even). But, yet, somehow the presence of a law enforcement officer’s gun doesn’t disrupt the dedication of our buildings for worship and somehow don’t translate our “havens” into kill dungeons and mine does.

Is the church now saying that it will ruin the rest of my life by having me arrested for nothing more than peacefully carrying a gun for self defense that isn’t hurting anyone? After all, the policy states that “All immediate threats are to be reported immediately to local law enforcement.” What is a threat? Some anti-gun, liberal member *(yes, they exist) who feels threatened by the mere presence of a gun? What if that person feels threatened by the law enforcement officer?

Is our leadership warning me that I won’t get into the celestial kingdom if I disobey the policy and take the risk? Can I truly “sustain” my church leaders if I blatantly violate their policy and carry anyway? For that matter, can I sustain leaders that want to disarm me and make me a defenseless victim because they don’t respect my right to exist? Is the church willing to make me uncomfortable by forcing me to worship in a place I no longer feel safe? Exactly what is the church telling me here? Am I a sinner if I carry in violation of church policy and hope not to get caught? Isn’t that not being “honest with my fellow man?”

If the church is telling me I cannot carry my firearm in self-defense inside the building—even concealed—I will honestly never enter that building again. I am not a lawbreaker, but I am also responsible for my own safety and refuse to rely on someone else for that safety. The police are not there to protect me. The courts have ruled this over and over again. I know many members around the country, but specifically in this state (and my ward) who feel the same way. If the church sticks to this policy, expect attendance to drop.

What really bothers me is that our church has as rich history of being called to arms in defense of each other and this country. As we were being pursued from New York, armed members stemmed off those seeking to slaughter us. There was an extermination order against Mormons in Missouri. We sent our own armed battalion to fight in the Mexican-American War. Those were guns WE owned. They weren’t provided for us. When President Buchanan sent the military to attack Mormons, we armed ourselves in self-defense (Nauvoo Legion anyone?) and prepared for battle. Thankfully, there was no bloodshed. Now, we’re expected to believe that there is no place for guns in this church?!

The church will claim this is about religious liberty. This is a hypocritical argument if the church is using right to violate another. Is the church saying that our right to keep and bear arms in self-defense is subordinate to our right to worship? Essentially, we’re being told to surrender one right to exercise another. That’s not religious liberty; that’s religious tyranny.

I will not lose my testimony of this gospel. I will not leave the church over this. I simply will never enter a church building over this. My faith is secure and strong. I can just as easily read my Bible and the Book of Mormon in the comfort of my own home. I can worship just as easily on the pot as in the pews. The church is making a HUGE mistake. I carry a gun so that I can live to worship and ensure that my fellow brothers and sisters can as well. I don’t carry in the hopes I get to shoot someone at church; I carry to ensure no one else shoots me in church. What the church has just done is tell Satan’s sycophants that the field it white to harvest at LDS meetinghouses. I won’t be cut down willingly. I will not return to church until our leadership reverses this policy and decides to simply follow state laws on the issue. Period.

School Violence: Causes and The Impact of Uniforms

“Every year, 3 million young people in the United States fall victim to crimes at school. Almost 2 million of these incidents involve violence.”1 As early as the 1950’s and 1960’s, the idea of school uniforms was batted around as a possible solution to “juvenile delinquency” in public schools.2 In the late 1980’s, uniforms began to gain momentum as a way to stem violence in school as designer clothing gave students a reason to attack each other. Almost weekly, late night news reports aired stories about students being beaten for their name brand Nike shoes or Gucci leather jackets and purses. Parents and educators increased their demands for uniforms during the 90’s as gang violence became more institutional and widespread.

Fifty years ago our children were extremely limited in how they could dress in the school house. Teachers and parents were very concerned and proactive in ensuring that students were appropriately dressed for their education. Our fathers’ generation required males to cut their hair so that it did not touch the collars of their shirts. Boys wore shirts that prevented them from flaunting their muscles. No one knew what kind of underwear the boys were wearing unless they were seen changing into their gym clothes in the locker room. Girls’ skirts could not be any shorter than their knees. They rarely wore dresses and never allowed their cleavage to be displayed for public consumption. Tight, form-fitted clothing was taboo. It was much more conservative and, as a result, school violence was virtually non-existent.6

Today’s children are free to choose just about anything they want to wear to school. It’s not uncommon to see boys and girls with exotically colored hair, multiple body piercings, and heavy makeup. Clothing defines the individual. Along with the continuing relaxation of clothing standards, schools are increasingly expected to take greater roles in educating and raising our children. Parents are moving away from their responsibilities in raising children that will respect authority.

In 1996, President William J. Clinton challenged schools to teach more “character education” in their classrooms. He also made the issue of uniforms a specific Presidential issue. “…if it means that teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets, then our public schools should be able to require their students to wear school uniforms,” Clinton said during his State of the Union address.3 Presidents don’t normally speak in terms so precise during these addresses. Rather, they tend to use broad generalities when addressing the nation.

Our children are under more pressure to wear brand name clothing now than ever before. Clothing has become a central issue in schools whether we want to believe it or not. As the years go on, more and more advertisements targeting children have attempted to convince them that they need designer clothing. As a matter of fact, based upon personal observation there are fewer commercials and ads for school supplies than school clothing. With celebrity role models increasingly touting their personal lines of clothing, the trend will likely continue.

The reasons both for and against uniforms are about as varied as the number of schools themselves. Some claim that uniforms will improve student behavior. Some claim that uniforms violate students’ First Amendment rights to free speech and expression. Yet others claim that uniforms stifle individuality and are meant to be another form of control, while some believe that uniforms will foster more individuality and creativity in finding ways to stand out.

In Prince George’s County, Maryland alone, one hundred thirty-one schools have reverted to a mandatory school uniform policy with another seven schools adopting a “voluntary” program of school uniforms. At a recent Board of Education meeting to discuss various issues affecting schools, the topic of uniforms was at the forefront. Debate was very heated and seemed to be divided along adult and student lines. Students spoke out against uniforms almost unanimously, while parents and teachers were mostly in favor of it. There were, however, some parents who were strongly against uniforms. The main reasons for their disapproval of uniforms were that it takes away their child’s individuality and will cost them too much money.

School uniforms are not unique to the United States. I grew up as a Navy brat and attended school in many states and countries. I attended school in Japan for four years where you can’t find a school that didn’t have uniforms. Possibly as a result, Japan enjoys one of the lowest school violence levels in the world. In the UK, uniforms have been a part of school life for more than a century. Lately, strong debate has convinced some schools to abandon their school uniform policies.

Uniforms tend to cost more than normal clothing would cost. This price increase in school clothing affects families differently depending on their social status and tends to sway some parents against supporting the issue. Here in Maryland, uniforms tend to be expensive. Using the baseline of a shirt, slacks, and shoes I compared how much it would cost on average to purchase these items at a department store versus the local uniform outfitter. The average price of one day’s non-uniform clothing from a department store is $72 for a white shirt, slacks and shoes. The same white shirt, slacks and shoes for a school uniform would cost $98 if purchased at a specialty uniform outlet.

Violence in schools was largely hidden from the public conscious as a serious issue until the Columbine, Colorado school shooting in 1999. Since then, adolescents have committed copycat shootings and similar violence all over America. School violence isn’t something that most students will ever have to deal with personally. Of the 48 students from eight different schools in my local area, only seven had personally been involved in some sort of in school or near school violence. Oddly enough, this is directly in line with a 1999 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which concluded that 14% of students had been involved in a fight.4

As the number of schools requiring uniforms has increased, the instances of violence in schools have decreased. Unfortunately, no one has yet to make a direct connection between the two. According to the US Department of Education, violence in schools has been cut in half since 1992. In 2005, the latest year figures are available, violence was at its lowest level in the past 13 years.5 The report states that only 8% of students reported being bullied in school.

Professional opinions run the gamut about the causes of this reduction in school violence. Some credit more student involvement and character training that every US school must include in its curriculum. Others believe that more law enforcement presence in the schools is the cause. When I asked 15 teachers if they thought that uniforms deserved the praise for a decrease in violence in their school, 9 told me yes, while only 5 said no. The remaining teacher wasn’t sure. I also spoke with parents and asked for their opinions on this issue. Of the 22 parents I spoke with, 16 told me that uniforms were the answer to this problem. They believe that violence can only be beaten through education at school and in the home.

Schools with high instances of parental involvement in their children’s education enjoy a lower level of school violence. Parents are the single largest factor in preventing violence in schools with or without uniforms. It’s important that parents support the educational system and teach children by example and by enforcing school rules. They can also talk with their children about how to avoid and prevent violent behavior. When students, teachers, and parents participate in their communities and local schools in a violence prevention initiative, schools are more than 30% safer. 7

After studying the facts and conducting my own polling and research at nearby schools, one can easily come to the conclusion that while uniforms may alleviate some of the violence that seems to plague our educational system, it is not the be-all-end-all. Educators must continue to pursue other strategies in combating this problem. Schools with full time security and/or law enforcement presence tended to have a lower rate of violence than the ones void of it. Many teachers believe that character training, a direct result of President Clinton’s address, seems to be helping as well. School uniforms definitely haven’t been shown to increase violence in schools, which is never a bad thing.

1. W.M. Keck Foundation; The Challenge of School Violence; http://www.crf-usa.org/violence/school.html
2. Anderson, Wendell; College of Education, University of Oregon; School Dress Codes and Uniform Policies; http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/policy_reports/dress_codes/intro.html
3. Clinton, William J.; State of the Union Address; January 23, 2006; http://clinton2.nara.gov/WH/New/other/sotu.html
4. Center For Disease Control; Just the Facts: Violent Behavior at School; http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/fact_book/23_School_Violence.htm
5. US Department of Education; Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2005; http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2005/11/11202005.html
6. Eppinger, Russell E.; Widener University; School Uniforms: Does What Students Wear Really Make A Difference? 9 March 2001; http://muse.widener.edu/~egrozyck/EDControversy/Eppinger.html
7. National Crime Prevention Counsel; http://www.pta.org/archive_article_details_1117811527812.html

Veterans Are Not Above Reproach

Listening to the run-up to, the execution of, and the post-analysis of the Robert Mueller testimony today, I couldn’t help but notice the Alinski tactics in full display by the liberals. Specifically, Alinski’s 12th rule, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

In this case, the target is Trump as it always is, but now the liberals are incorporating Rule #3, “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.” In the lead up to and aftermath of the Mueller testimony in Congress, liberals who had never served themselves were quick to invoke Mueller’s military service and compare it to the fact that Trump evaded Vietnam like millions of Americans.

Even morons who did serve were trying to tell Trump supporters that didn’t serve that they should essentially shut up.

Twitter is full of these cowards who forget why THEY serve. One of the things I’ve noticed since leaving the military (though I recognized it while I wore the uniform as well) is that Americans tend to have a nearly worshipful attitude towards veterans. While this is laudable, it blinds them to many realities.

I’ve always believed that nothing makes veterans necessarily special just because they served in the military. When you’ve served for over 20 years, you’ve seen the true nature of the force and come to many uncomfortable realizations.

1. Not everyone that serves does so out of patriotism.
2. A lot of Soldiers are too stupid to survive in the real world and need the military where they are told when to wake up, where to be, and what to do on a daily basis. Absent those directions, they freeze and waste oxygen.
3. A lot of Soldiers will do the bare minimum to collect a paycheck, have a free home to live in, and clothes on their back.
4. A lot of Soldiers are cowards and are a drain on valuable resources, time, and effort.
5. A lot of Soldiers have superiority complexes that are fed with leadership and responsibility.

Naturally, there are also those that meet that idealistic vision of the American public about who a Soldier is.

1. There are some Soldiers who wouldn’t skip a beat jumping into harm’s way.
2. There are some Soldiers that would give you the shirt off their backs, go buy another one to replace it, and give that one away too.
3. There are some Soldiers that would serve for nothing more than food on their plates and a roof over their heads.
4. There are some Soldiers who love this country and truly honor the oath they took to serve.
5. There are some Soldiers who truly believe that your life is more valuable than theirs.

When I was in the Army, I made sure that my troops understood that when they wear that uniform, everything with whom they come in contact is their boss. We serve the American people. We are not better than them and we are not worse than them, but we serve them. As such, we should cherish the responsibility they’ve bestowed upon us and always act in a manner consistent with the vision they have of us, even if that vision is somewhat based in fiction.

I say this because there is a belief out there that people who serve shouldn’t criticize those who have. Somehow, by serving, we are supposed to be immune from criticism, especially when the person doing the criticizing never served. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We do not serve to protect our own rights; we serve to protect the rights of all Americans and the ability to criticize our government officials is a quintessential and fundamental right.

The fact that Bob Mueller served in the military and is a decorated combat veteran is irrelevant to his recent government position. That service may have been what set him apart to qualify for the job, but they are separate. One can criticize his post-military life while still honoring his military service. In fact, by criticizing him, you are honoring his service because you’re exercising the rights he fought to protect (I won’t engage in debate about whether Soldiers really defend rights; that’s another debate).

I’ve met a lot of sorry excuses for humanity who served honorably. I’m sure there are plenty of people who believe I fit into that category. I would never compare my service to their lack of service when debating something completely unrelated. I want people to criticize me. I want people to criticize everyone in government! No one is above reproach and government officials, no matter how small their role, should always be viewed with extreme suspicion. If you knew what the government was truly capable of, you would suspect every one of us!

I’ll end with this tweet that I think summarizes what I’m trying to convey here:

Letters From War

I love history, especially military history. And even more especially, World War II history. My grandfather fought in WWII over Germany as a bombardier in B17 and B24 bombers.

The other day, I was at my uncle’s house and he said he had something that might interest me. He opened up a box full of old papers from the 40s and 50s. My great aunt was apparently quite the looker in her day and there were a lot of letters from GIs to her. I came across one letter that I thought was too good to pass up and just had to share.

This letter is from a PFC Wayne L. Williamson who served in a medical detachment, I believe. I’ll put the transcript below the images for those that can’t read the letter.

world war ii letter page 1

world war ii letter page 2

Temple, Texas
March 28, 1944

Dear Mae,

Enclosed you will find the pictures that Bernard and I took the Sunday we ran into you. The only once enclosed are those of you because we got mad at ours and threw them away. I would of liked a couple more of you.

I was planning on bringing them in to you but you ruined that by moving back to Troy and so I’ll have to be contented this way.

And now there is a question that I have been wanting to ask you for a long time.

I have tried time after time to lead up to this matter but somehow I’ve never been able to; even though it’s been on my mind for weeks.

As you know, when I first met you my feelings toward you were those of a normal friendship; but after a while they developed into something more beautiful & sincere for that I want to thank you very much.

I don’t know whether or not it is proper to ask you this question since you and I have had a little misunderstanding; but I believe that you can forgive me for doing it.

Please promise me that you will never show this letter to anyone else and just keep it between the two of us. This is very important and personal to me and I hope that I don’t over step my self and hurt your feelings. What I want to know Mae is “do you think that Superman & Lois Lane will ever get married?”

I must close to get ready for guard duty tonight.

Please answer soon.

Your friend forever,
Wayne Williamson

The Republican Leadership Scam

“Do I think (Constitutional Carry) is bad policy? Yes.” So quipped Texas House Speaker an A Rated NRA Politician Dennis Bonnen to Dallas Morning News on April 5, 2019. But not for the reason Speaker Bonnen wants you to believe. Speaker Bonnen loves to make fake news like his good friends in the Democratic Party, often using Nancy Pelosi’s tactic of a “wrap up smear” to kill bills.

It is just another example of Speaker Bonnen using the “wrap up smear” tactic by claiming to the media that HB 357 Constitutional Carry allows for criminals to carry guns. It doesn’t. In fact the language used in the HB 357 specifically states that only law abiding gun owners legally allowed to possess firearms can carry without a permit. But that’s not what Speaker Bonnen has repeatedly peddled to a fawning, liberal media. The bottom line is that Speaker Bonnen thinks his Constituents and the Good People of Texas are ignorant and won’t learn the truth. What a great way to view the people who elected you, right? Most Texans can pull up the text of HB 357 and clearly see Speaker Bonnen is a pathological liar and thinks very little of them.

So what really drove Speaker Bonnen to kill this bill and why is the National Rifle Association and Texas State Rifle Association still backing him on this and many other bills? Simple: it’s money; specifically it’s the NRA money. See, one of the biggest yearly money makers for the NRA is Range Safety Officer Certification. Many of these Range Safety Officers also happen to be the License to Carry Instructors that you’re required to have sign off on your LTC Exam and Range Proficiency Test. In order to be an LTC instructor, you have be NRA certified.

Imagine how much money the NRA Would lose if suddenly you didn’t need so many RSO’s to teach these courses – many of whom do it independently but still need RSO Certification by the NRA to use other Range facilities. I bet it’s quite a chunk of change.

According to the NRA Website, it’s $125 just to do the online RSO Course; it’s more if you wanna add other certifications, which many do. That’s a real threat to the NRA’s bottom line. Imagine how unhappy the NRA Would be if Speaker Bonnen, their A Rated stooge, cost them money? I bet he wouldn’t keep that A Rating.

So there you have it: Speaker Bonnen’s “bad policy” in a nut shell is actually putting the NRA’s fat bank accounts ahead of Texan’s Rights and Safety. But, we can all take solace in what the NRA actually DID fight for: 48 hours of constitutional carry. All you have to do is lose everything during a natural disaster and have the government tell you leave your property.

Note: This is a guest post by Damian B. However, I wouldn’t publish it were I not to agree with it.

NRA Again Dividing Gun Owners

I used to be a proud NRA member. Now I’m just a member. A Patron Life member, but just a member nonetheless. They won’t be getting another penny of mine any time in the near future.

My frustration with the NRA began in 2013 and was initially personal in nature. After my arrest in Temple for lawfully carrying my AR15 while on a hike through rural Texas (surrounded by my family’s pastures) with my son, the NRA refused to help. I was told that if my case went to appeal, they would be interested in helping with that. Well, the case went to appeal and again the NRA did nothing to assist with the case.

Not only did they passively ignore my open carry case, they actively opposed open carry in Texas. They actually created a blog post that called open carry in public “not only is it rare, it’s downright weird.” But, the NRA didn’t stop there. They attacked law abiding gun rights activists that were fighting to further 2nd amendment rights in Texas by calling the open carry rallies a “dubious practice” that is “downright scary!” Dubious?! Scary?! To be fair, the NRA retracted its ignorant ramblings, but only after gun owners revolted and began sending in their shredded membership cards. Unfortunately, anyone paying attention would have recognized that the NRA slipped when it admitted that “using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.

I only rehash the past to draw attention to the present. Despite supposedly opening their eyes to the plight of gun owners, the NRA has recently exposed it’s lack of spine in defending the 2nd amendment by pushing for bump stock and “red flag” legislation. They’ve already accomplished the bump stock ban and many states are instituting their red flag bills.

Just when I thought they had learned their lesson about open carry, they go and publish yet another article critical of open carry using worn out, baseless, unsubstantiated, and ignorant claims. Author Karen Hunter begins her piece hoping to convince us that her “objective is not to sway you from one side to other.” Then, after going through the pro/con arguments between open and concealed carry, concludes her screed with “Personally, I lean more toward the concealed-carry-always viewpoint” and launches a full-throated offense against open carry.

Before I tear into her points, let me make something clear: I don’t care HOW you carry. JUST CARRY!! How and whether you carry is your preference and everyone has their own. While I and Open Carry Texas have pushed for open carry as an option, we don’t tell people that one is better than the other because, as Ms. Hunter TRIED to do, there are pros and cons to each method. My main point of contention is that once again the NRA is trying to stigmatize open carry for all the wrong reasons.

My biggest objection to this hit piece is that she insinuates that our rights and carry preferences should be adjusted because “there are many people who aren’t anti-gun but are not educated on gun facts or laws whatsoever.” I thought the entire purpose of the NRA was to educate?! I know that’s the point of Open Carry Texas. You don’t educate people on something by restricting their access to it. You can’t teach people that driving is fun if you tell people why they shouldn’t drive or keep cars hidden.

Hunter then goes on to say she doesn’t prefer open carry because “I really don’t want to cause unneeded alarm to anyone or induce any amount of gun-related anxiety.” I’ve been open carrying for years (before open carry was legal in Texas, I OC’d in other states) and I’ve never had to worry about “inducing gun-related anxiety.” This is NOT how you fix this problem anyway. The best way to handle anxiety is to confront anxiety by exposing them to the elements that cause it.

For example, after a major motorcycle crash, many people are scared to get back on one. There is a lot of anxiety and fear involved just seeing one. However, the way to overcome that is not to hole yourself up inside your home, but to expose yourself to motorcycles. If you don’t get back on that motorcyle, you’ll always live in fear of it. Same with combat veterans. One of the ways that we overcome much of our combat anxiety is to expose ourselves to the sights and sounds of combat. When I returned from Iraq, I couldn’t watch Saving Private Ryan or other combat movies with realistic sound effects. However, I learned that if simply fight my anxiety by confronting it I could overcome it.

Instead of retreating to remote places on the 4th of July, I forced myself to go and watch fireworks displays so that I could overcome my reactions to explosions. I generally don’t have problems now because I expect loud noises during certain occasions throughout the year. Now, I do still have reactions to the unexpected, but I have learned how to deal with those anxieties and control them instead of allowing them to control me.

I usually open carry because I can’t stand inside the waistband holsters. I find them uncomfortable especially considering that my EDC is a full-sized 1911. However, as an activist, I mainly OC because I want to expose the public to the sight of a law abiding citizen with a firearm so they don’t fear them as much. Ms. Hunter may want to perpetuate the irrational fear of firearms, but I don’t. The NRA may be okay with it, but OCT is not.

I’m going to be 100% honest here: open carry is not really fear-inducing to the vast majority of Americans. Those that claim it is are lying. OC is not what causes fear; ignorance and a lack of education is. You don’t fix ignorance by placating it. You don’t educate people by withholding educational materials from them. When OC in Texas was being debated, all the libtard gun grabbers whined about this exact claim: open carry will induce fear! Hundreds of OCT members have OC’d in thousands of places throughout Texas (and others in others states, I might add) and no one has every experienced someone running away in fear. There have been complaints, but these have come from the gun haters anyway. Who cares what they think? My rights aren’t dependent on the irrational or manufactured fears of others.

Finally, Ms. Hunter conjures up the worn out myth about the “element of surprise.” Why any gun owner wants the “element of surprise” instead of the element of prevention is beyond me. When you need to “surprise” an attacker, you’re already being attacked. One can argue that appearing disarmed through concealed carry makes you just as much of a target as open carrying and making your firearm a target. I would argue the former is more likely than the latter. The overwhelming majority of criminals prefer a soft target and will be deterred by a visibly armed person. On the other hand, nearly all criminals are likely to target someone they believe isn’t armed. This is especially easy to understanding considering that, at least here in Texas, only about 4-5% of the public is licensed to carry and surely the criminals realize their odds are good.

The only thing that Ms. Hunter and the NRA accomplished with this article is once again splitting gun owners into two camps: open carriers and conceal carriers. I wish the establishment gun rights “defenders” would simply shut up about open or concealed carry and simply encourage people to carry. The article was great in presenting some reasoned pros and cons about each mode, but then defeated its entire purpose through its advocacy of one over the other.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal to me if the NRA didn’t have such a history of attacking open carriers in the first place.

The Courts Have Turned Away from Their Constitutional Purpose

If you think that we have a wonderful criminal justice system, you’re kidding yourself. We no longer have an independent judiciary whose power is limited “to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority.” The key words here are “under the Constitution.” The Constitution dictates which laws can be passed, so that section isn’t as important. However, the Constitution doesn’t seem to be a care of a U.S. appeals court that just upheld a New Jersey law that limits the number of rounds a magazine can hold.

To summarize the opinion of the court: if bad people do bad things, you’re rights can be legislated away. Let’s break down what the judges said. There are many issues here that confirm our courts have lost their way and in many cases should be ignored. The 2-1 divided court came to several conclusions: the law does not burden the 2A’s right to self-defense “in the home”; it does not violate the 5A’s takings clause because there are hoops owners can jump through to keep their magazines; and it is not a violation of the 14A’s equal protection clause that the law recognizes that law enforcement officers are just better people than the rest of us and should therefore have more rights. Let’s break these down individually.

“New Jersey’s law reasonably fits the State’s interest in public safety and does not unconstitutionally burden the Second Amendment’s right to self-defense in the home.”

First of all, the court relied on unspecified “statistics” that point to a “160% increase in mass shootings over the prior decade.” This is a bogus way to determine the constitutionality of an unconstitutional law. The court never identified its source, nor did it define exactly what constitutes a “mass shooting.” The reason for this is because there is no accepted, legal definition of a mass shooting. As such, the meaning and definition has changed depending on the source. For example, the idiots at the Gun Violence Archive, a leftist, anti-gun website founded by a rich, leftist, anti-gun lawyer.

See, the problem is that the GVA defines a “mass shooting” so broadly that just about every shooting with multiple victims is categorized as one. This includes gang and drug violence or even shootouts between rivals. However, in 2013, a federal law identified a “mass shooting” as “3 or more killings in a single incident.” Even this definition is problematic because it makes the assumption that a gang shootout at midnight over a turf war or a drug deal gone bad is the same as a deranged sociopath who enters an office and slaughters a bunch of people. Anyone that isn’t reliant upon pushing an agenda can easily see these aren’t connected. The only thing that is consistent is the type of weapon used.

Even uber-leftist website Mother Jones disputes the numbers frequently quoted from the GVA. While the GVA claims that there are more mass shootings than there are days in a year, MJ has that number at around a dozen per year. The only 160% increase in mass shootings has been a 160% increase in redefining the definition. This is hardly a way to determine – as the courts should be doing – whether something is constitutional. The courts findings are nothing more than regurgitated, anti-gun talking points using flawed and discredited sources.

The court is also attempting to convey the idea that the 2A only protects your right to keep and bear arms “in the home.” By including those three words, the court is pushing the narrative that there is no right outside the home to keep and bear arms. Nowhere in the 2A do the words “in the home” appear. It says a right to keep and bear arms and the fact that the founders didn’t just keep firearms in the home for home defense is proof that this was never their intent. The law certainly does burden the 2A right – in the home or otherwise – because it limits me as to the extent of my self-defense. Assuming I am a “one shot, one killer” gun owner, the law limits me to defending against a group of ten thugs. What if I’m attacked by 11? What if I miss once or more often, which is natural under duress, especially to those that aren’t as well trained as I am?

Here’s what the court is saying here: you only have a right to self-defense in your own home up to a certain arbitrary amount. Beyond that amount, the court essentially went mute. Either I have a right to self-defense or I don’t. What difference does it make if I choose to defend myself with a 10-round magazine or a 100-round magazine if I’m defending myself? This is another hypocritical factor the court missed. They use criminal activity to determine the limits of lawful self-defense. I understand laws to prohibit or prosecute criminal activity, but that should never have a bearing on lawful self-defense. This is no difference than a state limiting me to the type of car I can drive because a particular model is used more in bank robberies. I’m not a bank robber, so my choice of car shouldn’t be limited despite the fact that I COULD use it to rob a bank if I were predisposed to do so. Likewise, since I’m not a mass shooter, I shouldn’t be limited to what I can “lawfully” possess as a gun owner.

From Politico:

Since the mid-2000s, the incidence of mass public shootings on a per capita basis has been a bit higher than it was in the preceding 10 years. But the rates over the past 10 years are no higher than in the late 1980s and early ’90s, when the frequency of mass public shootings led to the creation of policies designed to address violence in schools and workplaces. Most notably, the growing number of high-profile mass public shootings in that era helped bring about the 1994 enactment of the federal assault weapons ban, which was allowed to expire in 2004.

They also wisely note that when the court relies upon statistics that rely upon rates, the conclusions can be misleading. A single murder in a state like Alaska with 739,795 people will produce a profoundly larger rate than a single murder in a state like California with 39.54 million people. The raw numbers are not much different today when it comes to gun violence than they were in the late sixties, but today there are over 326 million Americans versus just 202.7 million in 1969. The rates haven’t changed much at all.

The court determined that the 2A is protected because it only “places a minimal burden on lawful gun owners.” In other words, “it’s okay to violate the constitution as long as it’s just a little.” So, state could easily ban some religions, as long as there are other options for people to attend to church…somewhere. A press can be free, as long as it reports what the state determines is okay. It’s okay to quarter a minimal number of troops in our homes and not offend the 3A. You have a right to due process…as long as you are only accused of certain crimes or you’re at least 5’6″ tall. I know it sounds crazy, but logically this is the path it leads to.

“The law also does not violate the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause because it does not require gun owners to surrender their magazines but instead allows them to retain modified magazines or register firearms that have magazines that cannot be modified.”

There are several ways the law provides for owners of magazines with a capacity to hold more than ten round to become “compliant” with the law. Owners can either modify their magazines to accept ten rounds or less, destroy firearms or magazines that can’t be modified, register the firearms or magazines that cannot be modified, or transfer them to an “individual or entity entitled to own or possess it,” likely in a state that actually values freedom. They can also surrender the items to law enforcement as a last resort.

The 5A says that government shall not allow “private property [to] be taken for public use, without just compensation,” but the law in question in this case does not provide for a single penny to owners who are being required to modify, destroy, or surrender their property. In fact, the court completely ignored the “just compensation” clause. Additionally, the 5A only allows for such takings “for public use,” another clause the court ignored. Simply forcing once law-abiding citizens to turn in their private property because a bunch of politicians put words together on a piece of paper demanding it does not mesh with the constitution.

The court relied on testimony from researcher Gary Kleck and Everytown for Gun Safety (EGS), but only quoted EGS refutation of Kleck’s self-defense gun use (SDGU) figures in which he found that most SDGU involved fewer than ten rounds. It completely ignored that they also found there were many SDGU involving more than ten rounds. Despite this fact, the court simply found that those that needed more than ten rounds for self-defense were somehow less worthy of protection than those only needing fewer than ten rounds. By its own admission, the court “concluded that the testimony of certain experts (the ones, of course, that were on the side of the 2A) was “of little help in its analysis….[because] their testimony failed to clearly convey the effect this law will have on reducing mass shootings in New Jersey or the extent to which the law will impede gun owners from defending themselves.”

The court found that “while a ban on LCMs (large capacity magazines) does not restrict the amount of ammunition or number of magazines an individual may purchase…without access to LCMs, a shooter must reload more frequently.” This line of thinking is ludicrous and immoral. If most shootings, as the court found through its testimony, involve just 2-3 bullets, why limit it to just ten? If they can limit to ten, why not one? Why not 0? If the goal is not to determine constitutionality, but to determine what will kill fewer people or what will take shooters longer to kill the same number of people, then the court’s logic would justify a total ban on guns. It would also justify banning every single semi-automatic weapon. It could justify banning people in the future from owning multiple magazines or possessing more than a pre-determined amount of ammunition. It would justify even owning more than one gun!

“Finally, because retired law enforcement officers have training and experience that makes them different from ordinary citizens, the law’s exemption that permits them to possess magazines that can hold more than ten rounds does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.”

In a footnote on page 13 of the ruling, the court stated that “law enforcement officers use certain firearms not regularly used by members of the military and use them in a civilian, non-combat environment.” In the footnote to this statement, the court wrote, “because their duties require access to LCMs, active military members and active law enforcement officers are exempt from the ban.”

If magazines carrying more than ten rounds isn’t necessary for self-defense, as the court and the state allege, then it’s statement that “New Jersey law enforcement officers regularly carry LCMs…and along with their retired counterparts, are trained and certified in the use of firearms.” Well, if they are banned, why do they need them? Surely, it isn’t for self-defense because these types of magazines “are not necessary or appropriate for self-defense” by the courts own admission. Ostensibly, the police have guns for self-defense and defense of others, right?

Once again, the court here contradicts itself. In United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), specifically noted that the constitution protect “arms supplied by [the people] and of the kind in common use at the time.” The most common firearms in use at this time are those that hold and/or are capable of firing more than ten rounds. Since it is the responsibility (and right) of the people to be armed and the courts have already determined that those arms are to be supplied by the people and “of the kind in common use,” the New Jersey law should have been found unconstitutional by an impartial court. The court had to have read this case because they referenced it when citing that “[t]he possession of arms also implied the possession of ammunition” in determining that “magazines are arms” since they hold the ammunition. That was the extent of the dynamic duo’s (the NJ decision was a 2-1 split decision) use of this key case law.

But, the law doesn’t just exempt active law enforcement. It also exempted retired law enforcement officers. Why? Because of their “‘extensive and stringent training’ and experience ‘confronting unique circumstances that come with being a police officer,'” which are “different from, and hence not similarly situated to, other residents.” Really? Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t cops investigate crimes that have already occurred? Before a cop puts himself in danger of confronting a violent murderer, hasn’t the common citizen already been confronted by this same individual? Before a cop confronts a domestic abuser, hasn’t that person already abused someone violently? The only difference between the public and the police is that the police are paid to confront the people who already confronted the public. Therefore, we should be afforded the same means of self-defense as the police.

As for the “extensive and stringent training” argument, what about those civilians who never served in law enforcement who are more extensively and stringently trained than them? If the benchmark is having “extensive and stringent training,” why wouldn’t that apply to society as a whole instead of just certain government agents. I’ve met many people who have exponentially more and better training than what law enforcement receives. Even within law enforcement, having a badge doesn’t mean your are “extensively and stringently trained.” Some officers serve admin roles while others are on SWAT teams. Under this logic, doesn’t that mean that SWAT officers should have more rights than admin or traffic cops? And who decides what constitutes “extensive and stringent training?”

The fact that the court concluded this isn’t a violation of the equal protection clause is laughable.

The courts claims to have “carefully consider[ed] all of the evidence and the parties’ arguments,” but admits that it dismissed research it simply didn’t want to agree with. If this ruling isn’t overturned, this is the precedent it is setting.

The Self-Imposed Migrant “Crisis”

The moment that it was discovered a group of migrants planned to march (ie: drive) to the United States for asylum, we warned that they weren’t welcome here. In fact, the only people that want them here are those that are hoping on their illegal votes and abhor the rule of law – Democrats.

Over the past several weeks, every prediction about what these migrants would bring with them has come true: disease, crime, violence. Now that the migrants are in Tijuana, we’re seeing firsthand what their presence in our communities would look like. They come with no money, no skills, and nothing to offer. However, they do come looking for and expecting everyone else to take care of them.

The problem is that for a group of people who demands that someone else do what they should be doing themselves, they sure do have high expectations. For example, while Mexicans complains that their presence is costing the city of Tijuana $25,000 per day to feed, it’s never good enough. The migrants aren’t happy with their food, their living conditions, or their prospects.

This is all self-imposed. The migrants knew they weren’t welcome. They were told repeatedly by the government, the media, and the people around them. They didn’t care. Theoretically, they are fleeing from despicable conditions of crime and corruption, yet they went to Tijuana – the fifth most dangerous city in the world, according to Mexican think tank. The reason they went hundreds of miles out of their way to California as opposed to coming up to the US border at Texas is because they know that California is more friendly to criminals and illegal immigrants. They also know that Texans are well armed and will defend their country and state.

Trump was right about their presence being an invasion. 100% right. They are fleeing violence for a safer place to live and a job; Mexico offered that. They’re fleeing their country to help with Obama’s continuing goal of “fundamentally transforming America” (no, I’m not saying Obama is behind the caravan). Who flees a country they don’t like while flying it’s flag? If you think America is so great, why are you saying that when you get here you’re going to somehow depose Trump. You can’t expect to be welcomed with open arms into the country when you’re calling for the overthrow of its civilian leader!

Additionally, many independent journalists who are embedded with the migrants have exposed that the migrants are really attracted to our free social welfare programs. Let’s face it, if these people are let into this country, they’re going to be a drain on our society. They are going to suck down our taxpayer funded programs and services because they aren’t entrepreneurs and job creators. They will suppress wages by taking low-paying, manual labor jobs. Because of the low income levels, they won’t pay any taxes either. Very few of them even speak English, which is going to create greater complications within our borders in law enforcement and social discourse.

All one needs to see and hear about what kind of “gracious” guests these migrants plan to be has recently been revealed. It appears that since the illegals aren’t getting their way because we’re enforcing our immigration laws, they’re going to CREATE chaos through “human stampedes.” Their plan to overwhelm our defenses and system and take what they want since it isn’t being given to them.

Do we really need more people in this country who have no respect for our legal system? What good does it do us to bring in people who will just take what they want if it isn’t given to them freely? The migrants have made no qualms about resorting to violence to achieve their objectives. We’ve already seen how violent they can be in Mexico when obstacles are placed in their way despite being given options to their benefit.

Americans need to be paying close attention. If these guys (they aren’t women and children) think they can ram their way into our country, then Americans need to stand up to them. If they think they can outnumber us, then we need to outnumber them. The problem is that there isn’t much that can be done within the borders of Kalifornia because if you defend yourself, your state, and your country against these invaders, YOU will be treated as the enemy and problem. Californians also have virtually no right to self-defense in their state. The Kalifornia poliTICKians have made sure of that.

The Mexican government is now complaining about all the problems the caravan has caused, but they are responsible for it. They should have done what we are doing now and secured their borders. They should have enforced the rule of law against these South American Hispanics the same way they enforce the rule of law against North American white people. If an American pulled a tenth of the crap the migrants are pulling, we’d be locked in a third world Mexican jail being fed dirty water and stale tortilla shells.

If Mexico wants to solve the migrant problem, the solution is clear: start deporting them back home immediately.

Houston Police Department STILL Getting It Wrong on Open Carry

Over the past few years, I’ve come to a sad conclusion about the state of government and liberty in Texas. If you want to know about traffic law, domestic violence, or issuing warrants, ask a cop. If you want to know about just about any other aspect of law, ask nearly anyone else – especially when it comes to gun laws. That’s not a dig on them because it’s impossible for anyone to know every single law on the books. Texas alone has tens of thousands of laws. The problem is that when cops don’t know something, they simply make it up or enforce what they believe SHOULD be the law. I can’t count how many times I’ve been at an event and told by a cop that I can’t do something and when I try to actually show the cop the actual law, he/she refuses to even read it. The ego is too big. Thankfully, not all are like this, but an uncomfortable number are.

I’ve been educating the public and government officials (including law enforcement) for years about the limitations and extent of the law as it relates to firearms in Texas. Our gun laws are scattered throughout various codes, ranging from the Penal Code to Administrative Code to Education Code and Government Code. It’s a very tangled web and makes getting new legislation passed difficult because if you remove a section from one code and not another, you could effectively have accomplished nothing even if your bill passes.

However, the Texas open carry law is not that difficult to understand. Yet, despite the straight forward nature of the law related to the limitations on government and duties of license holders, there is still confusion – or outright willful ignorance – about what cops can and can’t do and what license holders have to do. I’ve written about this issue once already here, so I won’t rehash it verbatim. But, it greatly bothers me that there are still police departments that not only believe they have authority that they don’t, but try to convince the public that they have this authority and blatantly act against their rights. They claim to support gun rights, but will use any excuse to harass you for exercising them.

On the Houston Police Department’s website, there is a Q&A about the “new” open carry law. This appears to have been done under the old chief, Chief McClelland, but the fact that citizens who go to the site and type “open carry” into the city’s search engine is still a problem since the new chief hasn’t fixed it. Inquiring minds will come across this tidbit of false information:

20. If an officer sees me openly carrying a handgun in a shoulder or belt holster, is that officer legally able to ask me for proof that I have a handgun license?

Yes, since constitutional carry did not pass, the officer is legally permitted to ask you for your license. Also, when you get your handgun license, you are instructed that if a police officer asks you for your license, you must provide it.

I’m not sure what constitutional carry has to do with this response, but it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t matter that constitutional passed or didn’t pass. Open carry, where legal as it is in Texas, does not constitute probable cause. When the open carry law was being passed, I had already done my homework and knew that cops demanding ID could be a potential issue here. Other states that passed open carry had to go back and pass additional laws that specifically tell cops not to do what the constitution says they can’t do and the courts have reminded them not to do – demand ID for simply carrying a firearm (again, see my previous post for all the legal details on this). So, I worked closely with several legislators, notably Senator Don Huffines and Representative Harold Dutton, to attach an amendment to the HB910 (the open carry law) that would SPECIFICALLY prevent law enforcement from harassing people simply for open carrying absent any other evidence of criminal conduct. In other words, if the sole reason for the stop and ID was because of open carry and nothing else, the amendment told cops to slow their role and leave peaceful citizens alone.

The new Houston police chief, Art Acevedo, immediately mobilized his statist law enforcement buddies and they flooded the legislature with phone calls demanding that the amendment be defeated. All of the law enforcement unions and associations piled on and threatened lawmakers to kill the 4th amendment protection bill. They actually fought against your right to be “secure in your person, papers, and effects!” They WANTED the ability to harass law abiding gun owners who were minding their own business. Now, I know that some people reading this are a bit more brainwashed that I am and are already thinking to themselves, “if you have nothing to hide, why not just show the ID?!” I always respond with, “if I have nothing to hide, they have no reason to harass me.” Why should I surrender my 4th amendment rights to exercise my 2nd amendment rights?! That makes no sense at all. The 2nd amendment is not a subordinate right.

Let me continue breaking down the HPD response. “[T]he officer is legally permitted to ask you for your license.” I don’t dispute that. The officer is legally permitted to ask you out on a date too. He’s legally permitted to ask you to do just about anything absent illegal conduct. Asking is one thing; demanding is another. Yes, he can legally ask you for your license. The question then becomes, “do you have to provide it?” HPD seems to think so.

Also, when you get your handgun license, you are instructed that if a police officer asks you for your license, you must provide it.” This is where HPD goes off the rails. I do know – because I get phone calls, emails, and social media messages ALL THE TIME about this – that there are LTC instructors out there putting out false information that license holders are required to provide their LTC if a cop asks to see it. They point to Texas Government Code 411.205 as their evidence, but this is false. Nowhere in that law does it say a cop can demand an LTC (or even ask for it). It says, “when a magistrate or a peace officer demands that the license holder display identification, the license holder shall display both the license holder’s driver’s license or identification certificate issued by the department and the license holder’s handgun license.”

Let’s break this down…again. To anyone with a high school diploma who graduated legitimately, it is crystal clear that nowhere in this section does it say “when a peace officer demands that the license holder display his license.” It says, “when…a peace officer demands…identification.” It also doesn’t say, “when a peace officer ASKS for identification.” Asking and demanding are two very distinct and different legal terms. Asking denotes a choice while demanding denotes a requirement. It also says “when” an officer demands that identification, which every cop SHOULD know they can only do when they have legal authority – when placing someone under arrest. An arrest requires PC. Open carry is not PC because the courts have already ruled on this.

Finally, basically once a police officer has been given the legal authority to demand something from a private citizen (ie: a crime has been committed), only then does 411.205 kick in. This actually only applies to license holders since citizens not carrying a firearm are not required to actually “display” identification. The average citizen, under Penal Code 38.02, is only required to provide name, address, or birthdate when placed under arrest. They don’t actually have to display anything. 411.205 places a more specific requirement on license holders once the 38.02 failure to identify statute kicks in. If a license holder is armed and a peace officer has authority to demand identification, license holders actually have to DISPLAY identification – they can’t just verbalize it.

That said, the legislature also remove any criminal penalty for failure to display an LTC, so even if they have authority to demand it, failure to do so is not a crime. It’s merely a, “hey, slave, show them your LTC. But, if you don’t, meh.” Of course, some police departments have doubled down on their statist power trips by reporting the LTC holder to the state trying to get their licenses administratively revoked, but there is no provision in the law for suspending or revoking a license for failure to display it. I have recording of a phone call with a DPS trooper in the LTC department saying this exact same thing. There’s nothing they can do, but some departments get butthurt over it.

Anyway, there you have it. Once again, I have to take time out of picking my toenails to contact another police department and formally put them on notice about their illegal policies and misinformation.

The Reality of Violence

I’m not a violent person. I abhor violence. Now, that doesn’t mean that I think there is a place for violence. Quite the contrary. I am whole-hearted believer in using overwhelming force in response to violence. Peace through superior firepower, to put it another way. I don’t believe that violence is EVER legitimate except in defense from violence. I know that sounds weird coming from a guy that was involved in the Iraq invasion, but that was also 15 years ago (sheesh! Has it been that long?!) Combat has a way of getting people to see things a bit differently.

Since Donald Trump was elected I’ve witnessed firsthand the rise of militant communism and leftists known as Antifa. Here in Texas, we also have a group of commies called the Red Guard that are based largely out of Austin. Personally, I have no problem with people pushing ignorant and stupid political ideologies. It’s important to know who is expendable in the next civil war or major catastrophe. However, instead of merely pushing communism under the guise of “anti-fascism,” these groups are getting violent and people are getting hurt. Thankfully, in the aggregate, the people getting hurt the most are the antifa morons themselves, but people are still getting hurt.

I was tagged in a post where the following video was shared and it precipitated this blog post.

This is the kind of violence I can get behind. If antifa wants to puff out their birdchests (or, in this case, their oversized pannus) and get violent, I’m fully supportive of beating them into a coma. I believe that the only language that communists fully comprehend is strength, resolve, and violence. When antifa gets violent, we need to get more violent. We need to ensure, however, that we aren’t provoking that violence. We should exercise our rights and they should exercise theirs. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t respond to the rest of their nonsense.

I believe that there are different levels of violence and not all of them are kinetic. For example, I consider it violence when a group of people is trying to hold a rally, protest, or other first-amendment protected activity and another group of opposition does everything they can to drown it out. The left is very good at using sound to overpower conservatives and the right. I consider that violence and would not object to kinetic violence being used as a response to sonic violence. If people are blocking my ability to freely travel, I believe in running them over. They are forcefully preventing me from exercising my right to move about unmolested. This is a lesser form of violence that deserves a response in self-defense, especially when those actions could potentially affect my ability to put food on the table or pay my bills.

And when people like those in the video get physical, our response should overwhelming and absolute. I guarantee you this antifa coward who thought he was a badass will think twice next time. Perhaps he will rethink getting violent without a lot of support, which means that the next response should be even more overwhelming. As more of these idiots get their skulls crushed in, fewer others will feel the need to get froggy in the future. Thus, violence will create peace in the long run. The less blustering among that crowd will see the stitches of their more aggressive friends and decide not to get involved – or even just to stop going.

The problem with the right is that we tend to be more religious and therefore we tend to condemn violence at all costs. Our side believes that street fighting is uncivilized and unproductive. Often, we believe that even protesting is offensive and useless. We prefer to simply turn the other cheek instead of responding. We believe this is the Christian thing to do. Unfortunately, that perspective isn’t entirely accurate. The Christian thing to do is to avoid violence as initiatory; not just to avoid violence. Sure, we should try to “turn the other cheek,” but we shouldn’t be cowards. I doubt highly that Christ intended for his followers to be victims their entire lives and simply allow people to abuse them without consequences. Turning the other cheek, in my view, means that we try to avoid violence or vindication if possible. When Christ saw the Temple being defiled He “cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.” If someone is beating you with a pole, no one in their right mind should believe that Christ believes you should turn your head and not stop the beating.

It is my sincere desire that people would just disagree with each other. If you want to counter-protest, do it!! However, no one has a right to use their free speech to shut down the free speech of others. My rights end where another person’s rights begin. This is why when I go to a leftist rally, my intent is not to be loud and shout down the opposition, but to stand as an opposing voice. Sure, I’ll occasionally make a loud statement in response to something stupid being said, but I won’t in any way try to shut down their rally or make it to where they can’t be heard. They have a right to be heard just as I do. I’m always willing to sit down and talk peacefully with people with whom I disagree – including antifarce morons. When those people want to resort to violence, I’m always more than willing, capable, and excited to use violence in response. I love violence when used in self-defense. It’s cathartic and tends to force others to be peaceful all of the sudden when confronted with it.

No one should accept or tolerate antifa and far left violence. No one should accept or tolerate far right violence either. Violence in all forms (except self-defense) should never be condoned. I will never throw the first punch, but I’m incredibly accepting of throwing the last one. And it won’t be just one punch. I will stop when I believe you will no longer be a threat to me in any way. The solution is very simple. If you don’t want to go home bloody or end up in a hospital (or worse) simply be nice. I’m not a violent person, but I’m not completely opposed to using violence.

Beto O’Rourke Is Offensive to Gun Rights

Here in Texas, a major fight is at hand for Texas senator. Hoping for a second term, Senator Ted Cruz is being challenged by El Paso US Representative Robert “Beto” O’Rourke. While the media has definitely made it seem as if this is going to be a close race, I don’t buy it. Beto touts his accomplishment of visiting all 254 Texas counties as somehow a basis for defeating Cruz, but he refuses to recognize that nearly all of his policies are completely out of line with most Texans. What works in a liberal, border town like El Paso, doesn’t work in the rest of the state.

Perhaps his most abhorrent ideology is his disdain for the second amendment. Now, Beto isn’t a huge idiot and recognizes that Texas is a gun friendly state, so he’s having to craft his anti-gun messaging in a way that he thinks will fool most Texans come November 6th. You can always tell when a politician doesn’t support gun rights because they begin their discussion on the topic with, “I support the second amendment, but…” or “I’m a gun owner, but…” I call these kinds of 2A supporters as “butters.”

One only need look at his own website (which I refuse to link to – Google is your friend) to see his absolute and total disdain for the 2A. Nowhere on his page does he say or push anything that would PROTECT your right to keep and bear arms. Every single policy agenda he lists is, in fact, a restriction on some aspect of the 2A.

Texas has a proud and honorable tradition of responsible gun ownership for hunting, sport, self-defense, and collecting. Like so many Texans, Beto learned to safely handle and shoot a gun at a young age — taught by his Uncle Raymond who was a sheriff’s deputy and a jail captain. That shared heritage — that uniquely Texas experience — means that our state should lead the way in preserving the Second Amendment while working together to ensure people can live without fear of gun violence in their communities.

We should:

    Require background checks for all gun sales to ensure that firearms only get into the hands of responsible, law-abiding individuals.
    This means finally closing the gun show, online, and boyfriend loopholes.
    Stop selling weapons of war and high-capacity magazines to ensure that firearms designed to kill as effectively and efficiently as possible on the battlefield aren’t used in our schools, our streets, our churches, and our concerts.
    Block the erosion of Texas’ license to carry standards by opposing Concealed Carry Reciprocity, which would force Texas to allow anyone from states with weak to nonexistent conceal carry laws to disregard our own public safety requirements.
    Fully support federal research on gun violence so that we can better understand and address its root causes.

Let’s break this down in a constitutional sense. First of all, Beto is running for a FEDERAL, senatorial position. So, the federal law and constitution applies. The 2A is clear that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” Every law in any way altering or restriction firearms is an infringement.

First of all, Beto says that “our state should lead the way in preserving the Second Amendment while working together to ensure people can live without fear of gun violence in their communities.” There is no authority whatsoever in the constitution that allows for Congress to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms except to protect someone’s irrational fear of “gun violence.” This line of thinking is baseless when applied to literally any other form of emotional advocacy. If it’s the governments job to help alleviate people’s “fears,” then why do aren’t we severely restricting 18-wheelers. I would like to not live in fear of being run off the road every time I have to pass a big truck on the highway, especially while it’s raining. I would like to not live in fear of being murdered by a cop or dying as a result of medical malpractice. Should we ban 18-wheelers, cops, and doctors be banned because there are people who fear them? Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in this state by a wide margin. And exponentially more people die from medical malpractice!

Gun violence is a false term. It’s invented to push an agenda. There is no such thing as “gun violence.” There is only violence. The means to engage in that violence may vary, but violence is violence. It’s no difference being murdered or assaulted with a gun than with a fist, hammer, or knife. Violence is violence. The problem with these big government statists is that they recognize that controlling guns is the only way to truly control the people. This is obvious when you consider that every single gun control law conveniently exempts government officials from its grasp. Why is it okay for a cop to carry into a bar or courtroom, but no other law abiding citizen especially considering that licensed gun owners are 7 times less likely to commit a crime than cops are? Why is okay for a cop, active or retired, to carry in all 50 states, but not you? Because government wants a monopoly on the use of force and they realize that as long as you possess the means to resist their tyranny they can’t be tyrannical.

Next, Beto wants to “require background checks for all gun sales to ensure that firearms only get into the hands of responsible, law-abiding individuals.” We have background checks and we have laws that already prevent firearms from getting into the hands of irresponsible, law-breaking individuals. Felons aren’t allowed to have guns and they don’t purchase their guns legally. Criminals won’t suddenly start performing background checks on each other before each transaction. They certainly won’t undergo a background check before stealing a firearm. That said, I oppose background checks anyway. When we give government the power to determine who is “responsible,” what’s to stop them from determining no one is responsible – except government officials? If you want to disarm “law abiding” citizens, all they need to do is create more laws that turn law-abiding citizens into criminal out of thin air. For example, should UBC laws pass and two law-abiding citizens buy a gun from each other without a background check, those two people are now magically criminals. States have created felons out of thin air by merely passing laws regulating what types of guns or accessories the citizens can possess that previously they owned without a single issue. All background checks do is identify who is buying guns so that when the government is ready to ban them, they know who to go after. We’ve already seen it happen in California, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. You don’t make society safer by making it harder for law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms in self-defense.

This means finally closing the gun show, online, and boyfriend loopholes.” This is where Beto should be immediately disqualified from public office. He isn’t even intelligent enough to understand the very topic he has a position on. It’s illegal to purchase a gun online. Firearms cannot be shipped to a home under any circumstances “legally.” The “gun show loophole” is another farce and is simply the argument statists make to push for more control. The government doesn’t like when it can’t track who has a gun and frankly the government SHOULDN’T know who has a gun. I prefer to keep the government guessing so that they don’t get froggy although the fact that they do know there are over 310 million firearms in the hands of Americans is surely one reason government keeps itself largely in check. A Bureau of Justice Statistics – which the gun grabbers love to quote – survey of prison inmates found that less than one percent of the firearms used by felons were acquired at gun shows. Only about 1 our to 122 background checks, far less than 1 percent, are denied a purchase. If our government was serious about “ensuring people can live without fear of gun violence in their communities,” then of the approximately 80,000 applications denied annually, why are only about 40 of them prosecuted? Don’t even get me started on what the “boyfriend loophole” is.

Stop selling weapons of war and high-capacity magazines to ensure that firearms designed to kill as effectively and efficiently as possible on the battlefield aren’t used in our schools, our streets, our churches, and our concerts.” Once again, Beto displays his ignorance about the purpose of the 2nd amendment with this statement on many different levels. First, he fails to define what a “weapon of war” or “high-capacity magazine” is. There’s a reason for this. Muskets are weapons of war; or they were once. The M1 Garand and Mossberg shotgun are weapons used in war, but so are the Beretta and 1911 handguns. The evolution of firearms has always followed along the lines of military technology and one person’s “weapon of war” is another person’s hunting or sporting weapon. But, that’s all irrelevant distraction. “Weapons of war” are explicitly what the 2A protects. The “right of the people to keep and bear arms” is a direct qualifier to the right to “a well-regulated militia.” You can’t have one without the other. A militia is designed for times of war and the people who comprise the militia (“all men capable of bearing arms“) should have access to the kinds of firearms needed to fight it. Tench Coxe in 1788 answered the question about “who are the militia?” this way: “Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.” When the government is the only entity with access to “weapons of war” what do the people do when/if the government goes to war with them?! That’s the exact question Beto hopes you never hear or have to answer. He’s counting on your ignorance. Couldn’t we also argue that starvation, taxation, tariffs, and words are also “weapons of war?”

Block the erosion of Texas’ license to carry standards by opposing Concealed Carry Reciprocity, which would force Texas to allow anyone from states with weak to nonexistent conceal carry laws to disregard our own public safety requirements.” This is about the dumbest thing I’ve heard Beto say. The problem with this line of thinking is that it treats the 2nd amendment as a second class right. I doubt very much that Beto would support states putting greater restrictions on free speech or religion, but he would agree that those rights are universal throughout the nation. Likewise, my right to be free from having troops quartered in my home; being secure in my person, papers, and effects; afforded due process; the ability to vote; and other rights covered in the Constitution are uniformly accepted throughout the country, so why not the 2A right to keep and bear arms. Setting aside the unconstitutional nature of licensing to begin with, do I not have the same right to self-defense in Florida as I do in California or Alaska? Is the Constitutional not the same one in each state? I can’t imagine Beto supporting states requiring out-of-state visitors to only visit certain churches (or not attend church at all), but that’s literally the equivalent of his line of thinking here. He believes that states should be allowed to discriminate against people’s 2A rights geographically, but no other right. Can you imagine if Georgia banned any out of state protesters from exercising their 1st amendment rights? To these statists, the 2A is a subordinate and, therefore, expendable right when compared to others. I don’t hear him complaining that every state in the Union is required to recognize every other states’ driver licenses despite different requirements among to acquiring one. So, while I don’t believe licenses should be required in any capacity, the fact they are should be accepted by every state. I have just as much of a right to defend myself in Austin, Texas, as I do in New York, New York, so why shouldn’t my Texas license be recognized just because they have more infringements on obtaining one?

Fully support federal research on gun violence so that we can better understand and address its root causes.” I can’t find this authority anywhere in Article I of our constitution. Besides, we don’t need to spend tax money on this research. There are already organizations that do this. The problem is that statists don’t like the findings which inevitably fail to support their agendas. They can’t control the narrative as long as they don’t control the research. This is what Beto really wants: to control the data so he can manipulate it to push his anti-gun agenda.

Look, owning a gun or growing up with a gun doesn’t make you pro-gun or pro-gun rights. It just means that you support YOUR right to own a gun, but no one else’s. It means you support the right to own what YOU own, not what the rest of feel comfortable with. The root problem with most liberal statists is that they project their own insecurities on everyone else. They don’t trust themselves with guns, so they can’t trust everyone else. They assume that the rest of society is as unhinged as they are and that is why they want to control them. Liberals are violent, so they assume everyone else is violent as well. When you’re a criminal yourself, you assume everyone else is just as bad as you are to a liberal. It all boils down to projection; not safety.

Skarr Body Armor Review

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to defend gun rights and freedom at a rally in Dallas. For some reason, I’ve received an uptick in violent threats since my arrest in Olmos Park. The statists aren’t happy with people who stand up instead of kneel down.

It was a beautiful day full of sunshine and a light breeze that eased the trapped heat within the concrete jungle of downtown. I had been looking into getting some concealed body armor after my buddy James Everard showed me what he typically wears and made some suggestions on what to look for. After being unlawfully tased in the back, I quickly realized that I need something that is not only bullet resistant, but stab resistant.

As I began my search, I quickly narrowed the field down to two companies: Skarr Armor’s SPV-06W vest and SafeGuard Armor’s Ghost covert armor. I had several specifications that I was looking for:

    level IIIA (up to 44 Mag)
    stab proof
    concealable (as much as possible)
    lighweight and breathable
    affordable

Ultimately, I went with the Skarr Armor. The Ghost Armor was nearly twice as expensive as Skarr and offered the same protection. So, for the first time, I suited up and made my way to Dallas. I decided to go ahead and just wear it the whole way up so that I didn’t have to fuss with it in the parking lot and also just to feel it out for comfort. 

It wasn’t restrictive and I didn’t even really notice I was wearing it. One of my worries was that because I have a shorter torso than probably most people was that it would ride up while I was sitting down. I didn’t notice that being the case at all. When I got to the parking lot, I got out and grabbed all my gear and headed towards the rally. 

It was a warm day and I was sweating, but I didn’t feel overheated in the slightest wearing the armor. In fact, I just felt the normal heat that I think everyone else was feeling. Having worn body armor for many years, I know what discomfort feels like while wearing armor in the heat and I didn’t experience that. I have worn my plate carrier at rallies outside of my clothes and felt oppressively overheated, but not with this. It was hot, but I wasn’t uncomfortable. Again, I didn’t even realize I was wearing it. A few perceptive people asked me about the armor, but others didn’t notice until someone else mentioned it. The most obvious places you can see were around the neck area where the bulged out a little probably because of my enormous pecs (/sarcasm).

Thankfully, none of the threats panned out this weekend and I survive another day. I hope I never have to test out the protection-level claims of the armor since I’m not going to shoot up my only only concealable body armor to find out if it works. I can barely afford body armor as it is, but I definitely can’t afford one to keep and one to test. I’ll be wearing the armor at other events as well to get more of a feel for it and see how it holds up over time and increasingly higher temperatures. 

You can get the same body armor at the Skarr Armor website here (no, I don’t get a finder’s fee or commission if you buy any). I highly recommend it so far. I did a LOT of walking that day wearing bags and a rifle as well as walking through a crowded NRA convention floor without feeling bulky or burdened.

You can find some great deals on outerwear tactical plate carriers and ballistic armor by visiting this blog’s parent site here.