Charles L. Cotton wrote:
C-dub wrote:It's not really about whether or not you know they are for or against OC. It's what you THINK they are as a whole. The question isn't, "Does the Texas Legislature support open-carry?"
Exactly! Remember this aspect of the open-carry debate when the bomb-throwers start blaming the TSRA and/or NRA for an unfavorable outcome, should one occur. It's rare that we cram anything down the legislature's collective throats. We build support for an issue over time and we move on a bill when we think we have the votes, the right committee assignments, the right committee chairman, the right Speaker of the House, etc. That's how we passed virtually every controversial bill, including employer parking lots that took 4 sessions (8 years) to pass!
Political novices don't understand or don't appreciate the importance of this approach.
I suspect if you polled members of the Legislature their responses would look much like what we see in this audience:
[*]A small number of them would see it as a natural part of our 2A rights and be a sponsor and/or very supportive.
[*]A much greater number would be surprised at the topic ("what's wrong with concealed carry?!") but are pro-CHL and persuadable.
[*]Another portion would think that concealed carry is as far as they are willing to go (perhaps they only begrudgingly voted for it and the amendments since) and would only CONSIDER voting for it if TSRA/NRA really made it a priority.
[*]The remainder are anti-2A/CHL and highly unlikely to change. This is the only group that is probably not well represented in this forum but exists in the Legislature.
My overall view of the Legislature is this: while most members have probably never heard of open carry or given it much thought, they are pro-2A enough that with TSRA's strong support and advocacy such a change would pass both chambers if put to a final vote. With almost all R members being pro-2A/CHL and many Ds as well, general member support doesn't seem to be the blocker to progress to pro-gun legislation as much as the mechanics of the process: time in the session is precious, there are other more important issues, opposition by one or a small group of influencial members (a commitee chair, the speaker, the Lt. Gov., etc.).
I believe that we can have our will done on this issue BUT if we 2A activists, in this forum, can’t agree on if OC is a good thing, worth pursuing, its priority relative to others goals, etc. it will not happen organically in the Legislature. We need to get our own house in order first, as Charles has advocated for years, and then everyone support the effort with a united front.
Personally I'd like to see us be ambitious and try to make progress on several pro-2A topics given a strong pro-2A Legislature and governor. Yes to campus carry. Yes to reducing off-limits places. Yes to repealing good chunks of the Weapons section of the penal code. Yes to no disarming due to generic "officer safety". Yes to streamlining the CHL process. Yes to OC. These are in no particular order.
I understand the tactics that Charles and TSRA use to minimize the exposure of existing law and I support them but I hope we won't be too defensive or timid. Perhaps I'm very mistaken but the number of members truly hostile to our causes seem to be few and can only prevail when we drop the ball such as failing to comply with rules & points of order are legitimate, failing to convince the chair of relevant committee, etc. Hopefully red hot issues like redistricting, voter ID, a big budget deficit are in the past and our bill(s) won't get in the way. I'd love to see us at least try to advance several items on our agenda until we see a given one simply can't be sustained and capital must redistributed to the higher priority items.