Many â€œmembersâ€? of TexasCHLforum.com are law enforcement officers, some of whom may be members of CLEAT. This post is in response to an email sent by CLEATâ€™s Political & Legislative Director.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) appears to be reverting to its old ways of attacking gun-owners, especially CHL holders and NRA members. For years, CLEAT was a staunch opponent of efforts to pass the Texas CHL statute. Like the Sara Bradyâ€™s of this world, they preached of dire consequences to anyone who would listen. Unlike some notable opponents who later admitted they were wrong and that CHL has been a huge success, CLEAT has not recanted even one word of their absurd predictions. One would think that an association that claims to represent our friends in law enforcement would be intellectually honest enough to admit that CHL holders are the most law-abiding segment of our society. I guess I expect too much.
A short history lesson about CLEATâ€™s history of opposing CHL may help put this post in context. As previously noted, CLEAT was a staunch opponent of several CHL bills over the years. As a direct result of their incessant unfounded opposition to law-abiding Texans being allowed to carry handguns for self-defense, CLEATâ€™s fund raising efforts suffered dramatically. In fact, a CLEAT representative finally announced that the organization would no longer oppose CHL and, in a rare moment of candor, admitted that their silence did not represent a â€œchange of heart,â€? but was the direct result of dismal fund-raising efforts caused by citizensâ€™ response to CLEATâ€™s relentless opposition CHL.
Make no mistake, the vast majority of law enforcement officers, the folks who put their lives on the line for us every day, are gun ownersâ€™ friends, especially CHL holders. However, CLEAT was not, is not, and apparently never will be our friend. Lest CLEAT misrepresent my comments, I want to make it abundantly clear that this post is directed only at the organization and its Political & Legislative Director, not the brave men and women who wear the badge.
So, after years of lying dormant, what has CLEAT done now? Well, letâ€™s take a look at portions of an email that was sent to who knows how many people by Charlie Wilkison, Political & Legislative Director of CLEAT attacking the NRA and suggesting that CLEAT members not support the NRA. Here is the portion of CLEATâ€™s email that deals with the NRA:
NRA turns against the police
As a very young man I worked for a Senator who placed his NRA card on top of the photo of his wife in his wallet. I joined the NRA that year.
This week the NRA lobbyists joined with the liberals at the ACLU and publicly supported SB 1195, a bill that would ban consent searches by police during traffic stops. The bill had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. Click the link below to read my letter to the Senators and Governor Perry.
. . .
Should you be alarmed?
Are you alarmed that the ACLU and the NRA are joining forces against the police? The NRA has bragged openly of killing a law enforcement bill that would have banned guns in school parking lots which is still pending in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. (Emphasis added.)
So, if you have been sending $$$ to the NRA or the ACLU just be aware that they are using it to fight the police in the Capitol. Just a little FYI.
Mr. Wilkison raises two issues in his email alert. First, he attacks SB1195 that deals with consent searches during traffic stops. Here is a link to SB1195: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/cgi-bin/tlo/textframe.cmd?LEG=79&SESS=R&CHAMBER=S&BILLTYPE=B&BILLSUFFIX=01195&VERSION=3&TYPE=B
Contrary to Mr. Wilkisonâ€™s email, SB 1195 does not â€œban consent searches during traffic stops.â€? The bill merely sets the requirements for obtaining consent from a motorist. Surely, CLEAT doesnâ€™t have a problem with advising citizens of their constitutional rights? Also, how many LEOâ€™s have obtained consent, only to have the driver later claim he didnâ€™t give consent. SB1195's requirement for the driverâ€™s signature will help the officer, not make his/her job more difficult. Further, if an officer has probable cause, or another legal basis for a search, he can conduct a consent search without consent.
If CLEATâ€™s fund-raising efforts once again plummet, I suspect Mr. Wilkison will claim that his condemnation of the NRA and was based upon the bill as it was originally filed. (The original language did not provide for consent searches with written authorization.) This excuse would be merely a smoke screen. Mr. Wilkison was present at the public hearing on SB1195 on April 12th and he knew that a committee substitute changed the wording of the bill as it was originally filed. SB 1195's House companion bill HB 2418 was allowed to die in committee, so the amended version of SB1195 could be passed. So why would Mr. Wilkison, as a representative of CLEAT, make such an attack on the NRA, based upon a clear misstatement of the billâ€™s impact? The answer is simple, CLEAT has never been a friend of gun-owners; the organization just made the tactical decision not to publically oppose law-abiding gun-owners, so they could improve fund-raising efforts with the public.
I find it especially insulting that CLEAT would blast the NRA for supporting SB 1195, then send a letter to Sen. John Whitmire, Chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, with copies to Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst acknowledging that â€œSB 1195 is a well intended proposed measure by Senator Henajosa, . . .
â€? Do I see a double standard here; one for Senators and a much harsher one for the NRA and its members? Here is the link, if youâ€™d like to see the entire CLEAT letter. http://www.cleat.org/news/2005/sb1195memo.pdf
NRA killing law enforcement bill:
This complaint by CLEAT apparently deals with SB173 and its companion in the House, HB1067. These are the bills that would have turned the clock back to 1997 and made school parking lots off-limits to CHLâ€™s. SB173/HB1067 rightfully received a good deal of attention earlier, including here on TexasCHLforum, and their respective authors have not requested committee hearings, effectively letting them die. This is precisely what we wanted. If Mr. Wilkison thinks the NRA will sit back and let CHLâ€™s once again face prosecution for merely dropping their children off at school, then he has a short memory. Remember these bills. I suspect we will see CLEAT attempt to attach the â€œschool parking lotâ€? provisions to some other bill, but rest assured it will not go unnoticed.
CLEAT has vowed to kill â€œcar-carryâ€? bill:
Further evidence that CLEAT is no friend of gun-owners comes directly from Mr. Wilkison who was overheard vowing to kill Rep. Keelâ€™s car-carry bill, HB823! In fact, he had said it would never get out of the House Calendarâ€™s Committee, but he couldnâ€™t pull it off. Now he plans to kill it in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
CLEAT supports bill that targets law-abiding junior shooters:
Rep. Lon Burnam, perennial anti-gun TSRA â€œDâ€? rated representative from House District 90 filed HB332. It finally received a public hearing on April 27th. Rep. Burnam erroneously argued that the bill was needed â€œbecause law enforcement had no other tools to combat street gangs carrying long guns
,â€? along with other equally invalid statements. (A Class C, citation-only misdemeanor is going to assist in fighting gangs?) Even TSRA â€œDâ€? rated , anti-gun Rep. Yvonne Davis from House District 111 called him to task. As Rep. Davis said, â€œapplication of a criminal statute is always different from the way itâ€™s written! Honest, law-abiding kids WILL be arrested, they WILL loose scholarships, they WILL loose the ability to shoot in competition, their parents WILL be forced to hire a lawyer
.â€? This was from a Representative with a track record of voting against the rights of gun-owners. The bill has a multitude of problems, far too many to cover in this post. By way of example however, one of the so-called exceptions uses the term â€œtravelingâ€? which has been a stumbling block for law enforcement, the courts and honest citizens for over a hundred years. It has been so much of a problem, that the courts have repeatedly asked in their written opinions that the Legislature define â€œtraveling.â€? HB 823 (the bill CLEAT vows to kill in the Senate) attempts to do this, but it applies only to handguns, since this is an issue only for people carrying handguns. If Burnamâ€™s HB332 passes, the problem would be expanded to include long guns.
Also pursuant to the bill, even if charges are ultimately dropped, the confiscated firearm â€œmayâ€? be returned. In short, legal private property could be taken from a person who has not been convicted of a crime. Finally, if HB332 passes, then Burnam will be back year after year, attempting to expand the coverage of the statute and remove or greatly limit the â€œexceptions.â€?
The only LEO organizations signing on in support of HB 332 were CLEAT and TMPA.
Perhaps CLEAT has a short memory and needs a history lesson; gun-owners support their friends in law enforcement, not those organizations whose actions prove otherwise. When deciding which LEO organizations deserve your financial support, please remember CLEATâ€™s actions; they speak far louder than their silence for the past few years. It would be especially impressive to CLEAT if their members demand both a retraction of Mr. Wilinson's absurd email, and that CLEAT immediately stop it's support of anti-gun legislation.
Please spread the word; CLEAT is at it again!