Texas Sponsors of OC Bill Say Flat Out: Rifle OC Ain’t Helping

Harrisburg PA Capitol Dome

As I mentioned in an post yesterday, if you give skittish lawmakers more excuses to drag their feet, it won’t help anything. This article outlines the trouble that’s being created in Texas for the open carry bill from the sponsors themselves:

“I have told the groups that I have talked to not to do this right now. This could be harmful in getting it passed,” Lavender, who has twice failed to pass open-carry legislation, said of open-carry demonstrations breaking out around the state. “At this point, when we have everything lined up to pass, why take a chance on bad publicity to set us back?”

Patterson, one of the state’s most ardent gun aficionados, said of the armed demonstrations: “In certain cases it’s not helping, it’s actually probably hurting.”

You have to get to know legislators. Like I said in yesterday’s post, you will tend to a very small number of real friends in any legislative body. The rest will only go along to the extent they think your issue will help them win more votes than it will cost them. For most lawmakers, it is entirely a political calculus; they could actually give a crap about your pet issue if they themselves don’t have a personal stake in it. Sure, many might abstractly support your pet issue, as a sort of vague concept (which they will speak to you about at lengths, enthusiastically and vaguely), but when the chips are down, all of them have breaking points. Under the bus you will go if things get too dicey, and you risk losing them entirely if the lawmaker perceives he or she can get more votes or money from the other guy.

You have to push politicians; they’ll happily speak platitudes about your issue all day long otherwise. You need a keen ear for when sunshine is being blown up your back side. But you definitely need to know, or at least get some instinct for where their breaking points are. You can’t push beyond that point. When you hear lawmakers who are sponsoring these bills talking like these Texas lawmakers, it’s a warning that the coalition needed to get your bill passed is fracturing.

Politicians are a lot of things, but they are not courageous. Some of them might we war heroes, and other heroic types in a different life, but politics is a different context. Lawmakers who make a habit of taking “courageous” votes are what we typically call lobbyists and consultants, who catch a lucrative gig influencing their old allies after getting booted from office. Your average voter doesn’t appreciate courage or conviction. They appreciate a firm handshake, a smile, and who says the right things about doing something about X, Y, and/or Z that is bothering them.

It is a difficult situation to operate in. Pennsylvania already has unlicensed open carry, but I’d like to see constitutional carry in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I’m nearly certain I’d lose all but perhaps one or two of our local lawmakers if that issue came up, and if the FOP went against it, probably all of them. Maybe unlicensed carry in a vehicle would be a workable next step? I’m fairly certain our side could work up several more votes against, say, an assault weapons ban, but moving forward is more baby steps. Our side is much better at the stick than the carrot. The stick, unfortunately, is a defensive weapon. You need to carrot to move forward. I’ve asked Bitter to write up an article about the use of the carrot with lawmakers today, since I’ll be in the office.

18 thoughts on “Texas Sponsors of OC Bill Say Flat Out: Rifle OC Ain’t Helping”

  1. You say: “unlicensed carry in a vehicle would be a workable next step.” What exactly is the difference between unlicensed open carry and constitutional carry, aside from the fact that you need a license to carry in a car (and Philadelphia, of course)? Is there PA common law protecting open carry? I travel to Pgh often, always wonder if the various PD’s in Allegheny Co would really stop people with a sidearm? The irony of course is you need it far more in Baltimore than Pgh.

    VA has open carry. People go around openly carrying pistols and I’ve been told make decent money off the lawsuits reminding municipalities of the law.

    1. Constitutional carry is essentially no restriction. You can carry a gun any way you want without a license, openly or concealed, or in a vehicle. Currently you need an LTC to have a loaded “firearm” (e.g. Handgun) in a vehicle, or concealed. Also an LTC is required to OC in the City of Philadelphia.

      1. For us out of staters, PA vehicle carry is governed by statute and a valid carry permit from any state is sufficient, correct?

  2. We in North Carolina like you in PA have unlicensed open carry and it includes handguns. Ours is a result of a 1920s era NC Supreme Court case which based it on the NC Constitution. As such, we’re pretty safe in keeping it.

    I feel for the gun owners in TX who want open carry of handguns but the actions of the open carry groups sure as heck aren’t helping. As some have mentioned elsewhere, it is almost as if some of these guys were a false front group actually sponsored by the Demanding Mommies or the Brady Bunch given how much aid and publicity that they’ve generated from it.

  3. Despite deleting messages left and right, and banning people (like me), they are getting hammered worse than ever on facebook. I think the NRA’s press release has had a good effect. We’ll see how stubborn these morons are, because the pressure on them is immense.

        1. Well.

          That’s a tell right there.

          (No not to imply false flag. Merely that Resoned Discourse is never a good sign in a 2nd amendment debate.)

  4. Nothing motivates (i.e., scares) politicians more than organized citizenry. It is their kryptonite, their red-hot doorknob, their midnight sweaty nightmare.

    My neighborhood of 3000+ people once got about 20 people to attend a city council meeting – wearing T-shirts with our subdivision logo on them – and the PSH of the council as we each took one minute to address them on an issue of zoning was delightful to see. Because we LOOKED organized in our identical shirts.

    The pols who know you by sight now know you as an activist, and know you can cause them trouble as well as support them!
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Nothing motivates (i.e., scares) politicians more than organized citizenry.

      Except in this instance, the OCing idiot brigade aren’t organized. They couldn’t even figure out how to run a proper raffle. Plus, there aren’t a lot of them. I doubt Texas politicians are concerned that a few hundred OCing idiots won’t vote for them if they don’t give in to their demands.

      You know who is organized though? Shannon Watts and crew. They’ve been very adept at using photos and videos of these idiots to affect actual change that negatively effects gun owners nationwide.

      Open Carry Texas and Open Carry Tarrant County are among the most effective gun control organizations in America at this very moment. And yet we still have fools cheering them on. When the votes for Texas pistol OC disappear next year, I wonder what mental wrangling these morons and their supporters will use to blame anything but their own actions. By the looks of it, we will definitely get to find out.

      1. The politicians here in Texas aren’t worried about the OCT clowns, nor the MDA clowns, either. What I’m hearing from people working with the legislators right now on the OC bill (that is supposed to be introduced next session) is that the legislators are getting calls from constituents, and it is starting to sound like they are warming up to call for banning rifle OC.

        That *might* be a coordinated thing, but it doesn’t really sound that way right now. What *is* the truth is that OCT is pissing away any chance that OC will pass this session (after close to 8 years of slowly getting enough legislators on board to co-sponsor the bill), and their response is to stamp their feet, stick their fingers in their ears and shout “LALALALALALA!” at the top of their lungs.

        There is no reasoning with them, unfortunately – stick, carrot, lead pipe – it doesn’t faze them. We’re at a loss down here.

        1. What I’m hearing from people working with the legislators right now on the OC bill (that is supposed to be introduced next session) is that the legislators are getting calls from constituents, and it is starting to sound like they are warming up to call for banning rifle OC.

          OCT is screwing things up for gun owners nationwide. If they’d just #$%^& stop, that would be great. But since that’s obviously not in the cards, if you guys are going to lose rifle OC in order for the rest of us to stop getting screwed by OCT, then thanks for taking one for the team I guess.

  5. I’d like to see ANY good gun law passed here. But we have the laziest legislature this side of the nut house. They can’t do anything positive, even with the House, Senate, and Governor in the hands of the Republicans.

  6. I have some experience here. The difference is clearly one of intelligence. The people I have worked with have been smart and open to discussion. The OCT crowd appears to be rather dim-witted and slow.

    People in our state who contacted us asked the question, and got decent answers: OC Rifle activism will not help. We told people to OC if they needed to, and if they felt it required for their protection. Also there are practical issues to consider, and one of them is the common custom of carrying your firearm in hunting season without fear of reprisal from a Deputy or Trooper. That doesn’t mean we carry a Rem 870 into Chipotle in Annapolis.

    We had some recalcitrant types, so I sympathize. Kind of. The difference is we took pro-active steps to stem any damage. I think one of the issues living in shall-issue territory is they just don’t know how to fight anymore. They are so happy with candy they think they are entitled to everything else they want, without regard for little things like state legislatures. This causes childish behavior.

    My question to the people of Texas: why are the OCT leaders (and those who damage our cause) allowed into any gun range or gun shop in the state?

    Seriously, we need to police this. I will say that no reputable range in Maryland would rightly serve someone who hurt our cause so brazenly and unrepentantly. We got a ban hammer, and we use it. The largest ranges in Maryland would not accept these people, and to this day the few shops and ranges who complied with a “request” from the state police to get names of people buying ammo are on a blacklist and will never come off until they repent.

    So to the people of Texas, I suggest you start taking names and calling ranges, shops and clubs. Tell them, “I will not patronize any business that harms my interests, and serving OCT drama-queens harms my interests.”

    Sorry, but it has come to this. Laugh all you want about May-Issue states, but we know how to live in occupied territory and deal with miscreants. We fight from the trenches every day. Don’t kid yourself – supposedly “gun friendly” states are just a few votes from becoming New Jersey.

    I will finish with a friendly word from occupied America: Texas is not as safe as you think. Changing demographics are working against future gun rights (Rick Perry is not shopping in red country for new residents, ahem). We have no rights under the law of this land (pitiful, admittedly). All you have is lawmakers who think you are a friend. Prove them wrong and find out how few “rights” you actually have. Texas is as likely as not to lose gun privileges as not.

    You think people in Texas have rights the people of Maryland and California do not? Keep up the good OCT work and find out for sure…

    We can solve this, easily. The Amish shun those who betray their community. We need to do the same: no range time; no clubs; no competition.


    1. Good words, these. I may link to this post in our discussion about the issue on our CHL forum, if I have your permission to do so.

Comments are closed.