Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New law will finally solve guns and traveling question in Texas

Good news for Texas gun owners: Finally, the question of whether you can carry a concealed, loaded handgun in your car is about to be decided with the passage of HB 1815, discussed by Grits here.

Earlier this year a public policy report I wrote (pdf) was published under the joint auspices of the Texas State Rifle Association, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and the ACLU of Texas criticizing attempts by some prosecutors to circumvent a statute passed during the 79th (2005) Texas Legislature. The open-records based study even received attention from The New York Times, and was widely distributed in support of HB 1815 by Isett/Hinojosa, the legislative fix that would disallow Texas prosecutors from sidestepping the law.

The new version of the law, which everyone expects the Governor to sign, repeals the old language entirely and says an individual cannot be charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon (UCW) in their personal vehicle unless:
  • the handgun is in plain view (not found as a result of a consent search),
  • the person is engaged in criminal activity other than traffic violations,
  • the person is legally disallowed from owning a weapon (e.g., past criminal convictions), or
  • the person's name is in the state of Texas' criminal street gang database.
Otherwise, if the weapon is concealed on your person or somewhere in the vehicle out of plain sight, and none of the other restrictions apply to you, as soon as HB 1815 takes effect on September 1, 2007 it will be legal to carry a handgun in your car.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel much safer now knowing that all the road ragers in Houston can now pack heat in their cars.

american woman said...

I'm glad those who conceal can carry in their cars. They are licensed, know how to shoot and care for their gun, and respect it. Some of these punks who carry and are clueless better be warned, the good folks of Houston are carrying.

Anonymous said...

I hope you didn't learn to shoot from Dick Cheney, American woman.

Anonymous said...

I don't want anything to do with guns or folks that do.

If the bad guys have guns, then I'm enough of a realist to think it is not all bad that the good guys can legally have a gun to defend themselves. Bad actors may behave better knowing they're at risk.

Even more important, the DA's must not make up the rules as they go.

Anonymous said...

I will not donate money to either the ACLU of Texas or the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition if they are going to waste time and money making sure people can drive around with guns in their cars.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@10:42 - like it or not hundreds of thousands of Texans are legal gun owners. Under the old law, it was legal to thave gun in your home, and at the gun range, but you couldn't have it in your car from one place to the other.

I'm a legal gun owner and I'm not going to shoot anybody. But if I need to transport my firearm somewhere for whatever reason I choose, and I take precautions like stowing it out of sight and am otherwise legally allowed to own a gun, it's just another piece of property and it shouldn't be a crime for me to transport it.

You may feel so strongly about gun control you wouldn't donate to groups who took this stance for civil liberties of gun owners, but I think that would be a mistake. When the CCL law was passed people predicted shootouts in the street and it never occurred. I'll bet you dollars to donuts the same thing is true about this law - the crooks were carrying their guns anyway and this will only affect law abiding people. best,

Anonymous said...

It should be a crime for you to transport it in a car, under most circumstances, just like it should be a crime for you to carry it into a school or a liquor store.

Anonymous said...

Grits- your welcome any time in Bexar. I have a feeling your fingers will cramp for weeks when you get home from all the things you will want to tell about.

Also - why can't the juges be held liable for official opression. Some of them have been involved. One judge ripped up a Union Flyer in front of an officer while giving an "at will speech".

All attorney's who are interested in a bench in Bexar County contact your local friendly probation officer. The buck stops in 2008.

To quote Nelson Wolff- tell the judges to stop hiding behind their robes and do something.

Anonymous said...

Wendy's Manager Shot Over Chili Sauce
Verbal Dispute With Customer Led To Shooting, Police Say

POSTED: 10:01 am EDT May 29, 2007
UPDATED: 1:50 pm EDT May 29, 2007
MIAMI -- A disgruntled customer shot a manager after arguing with a cashier about packets of chili sauce at a Wendy's restaurant drive-through, police said.

Police said the customer got into a verbal dispute with the cashier around 12:20 a.m. Tuesday at the fast-food restaurant at 18181 N.W. 27th Ave.

According to Miami-Dade police, as the customer picked up his meal, he told the cashier he wanted extra chili sauce. When he didn't get the sauce right away, he began arguing with the cashier, said police. The customer then told the cashier he wanted 10 packets of the sauce. Although the cashier told him restaurant police prohibits a customer from getting more than three packets, but the female cashier complied.

According to police, the man continued to argue. He was told to pull up so that the manager could speak with him, witnesses said.

"The manager came out to inform him of company policy, and he shot at (the manager) several times," said Mary Walters of the Miami-Dade police.

The manager was struck in the arm and was taken to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The customer fled in a brown four-door vehicle with a female passenger.

Anonymous said...

12:25am - what does Miami Fl. have to do with a Texas law? Nothing you wrote indicated the person doing the shooting had a legal permit to carry the gun.

As I wrote before, I don't like guns, but I'm enough of a realist to know some bad actors do.

I don't think the ability to legally carry a gun in a car would have changed this incident? Did you leave out some important facts?

Anonymous said...

Why are you assuming the person involved in the incident in Florida did not have a permit to carry a gun? We are not advised by this article. Is it even legal to carry a gun in a car in Florida? Maybe Grits can tell us, since he did some research on the subject, maybe he looked at other state laws.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Why should carrying a gun in my car "under most circumstances" be illegal, 12:14? I get the school or liquor store, but in my own car? I'm a law abiding citizen, it's my legal property. The crooks and crazies like the guy who shot somebody in Florida will ignore the law and carry a gun anyway, so the old statute, besides being nonsensical, only restricted law abiding folks.

Not-so-common-sense said...

Grits, o.k., we'll be authorized to carry a gun in the car. The only reason we would have it in the car is in the event we need it (same reason why we carry money). So now, when we actually end up shooting someone for whatever reason we deemed was necessary, how will this affect us in court? Who's the governing body on determining "authorized use?" That would be really ridiculous for me to carry a gun for protection, find myself needing to use it, and then find myself going to prison for murder because I was authorized to protect myself. Have they thought that far?

PAPA said...

The Constutition of THE UNITED STATES of AMERICAN gives "WE THE PEOPLE" CITIZENS of this country the right to BEAR ARMS. Remember that document? Those that are going to misuse weapons will regardless of what the law says.Those that may need one for their protection will use the gun properly.The ZERO TOLERANCE ZONES appear to be where most shootings happen, schools,liquor stores, night clubs, government buildings, banks....isn't that INTERESTING.The way to reduce CRIME is for everyone to start wearing a 6-shooter on their hip, this will make the evil ones think twice.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ not so common sense: I think the new Castle Doctrine law which Perry signed, speaks to that.

JT Barrie said...

The only reason you can carry in your car is because most mainstream business won't allow you to on their premises. I have to wonder aloud about all these NRA wannabees who scream about letting people wander around with guns on public property - when most private enterprise restrict their presence. These are the very same folks who whine about government regulations on businesses.

Anonymous said...

How does a person's name get placed in the Texas "criminal street gang database"? Does it take a conviction for some gang-related activity? Can a person be placed on the list without being so informed? Might there be an Equal Protection problem with that aspect of the bill?

Anonymous said...

"The crooks and crazies like the guy who shot somebody in Florida will ignore the law and carry a gun anyway..."

The problem is not everyone who does something like what happened in Florida is a crook or a crazy until the day they get so mad about something like the insufficient number of chili sauce packets and then they reach for their legal gun, which because they are allowed to carry it in their car is right there in the glove compartment. Up until that point, they had never shot anyone.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Well, we'll get a chance to see if this causes a rash of new killings, because it's about to become law. Personally I doubt seriously that will be the outcome, but we won't have to guess. This is going to happen and we'll see, empirically, over the next few years which one of us is right. Personally I think if you shoot somebody in the fast food pickup lane you've probably got a few screws loose, anyway, and probably aren't all that concerned with legal niceties to begin with.

On the Criminal Street Gang Database, it's more squirrelly than that. Here's the code so you can see for yourself what gets you in there. best,

Anonymous said...

"we'll get a chance to see if this causes a rash of new killings..."

How many people dying because of this new law will be enough for you to think it is a bad law. If it is only one, are you going to volunteer to tell the kids of the dead person that their mother/father is dead now but that the good news is that only one person (their mother/father) has been killed because of this new law and beyond that there has not been a "rash" of killings, so therefore it is a good law because the important thing is that all the legal gun owners can drive around with their guns exercising their constitutional rights.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I don't believe that will happen, so we just disagree. The same 'sky is falling' rhetoric was trotted out when CCL licenses were approved in the mid-'90s, and it simply never occurred. I'm sorry if the empirical world does not conform to your ideological preferences, but those are the facts.

In any event, even if I'm wrong the number of additional deaths will be fewer than when cities shortened the yellow light times at intersections to maximize red light camera fines.

IMO the folks who would murder or shoot people aren't deterred by the UCW law, only law abiding people. And I'm willing to accept some risk (just like every time you go out in traffic) to keep from overcriminalizing noncriminal behavior by law abiding citizens. Too many people in Texas own guns - literally millions - to criminalize carrying them from point A to point B for any legal purpose.

Anonymous said...

So, you have empirical evidence that there were zero deaths or shootings caused by the CCL licenses beginning in the mid-90s - people who would otherwise not have been shot or killed if the law had not been changed?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Not offhand, but I actually opposed the CCL law when it was passed in the mid-'90s, and was later convinced by media analyses of crimes committed by CCL holders that it simply wasn't an issue, that CCL holders were less likely to commit gun crimes than most others and that gun use by the criminal class was the real problem. In addition, murders overall in Texas declined every year after the CCL law was passed until very recently. So I had to admit I was wrong at a certain point, and that the evidence didn't support my position. Thus, I changed it.

Anonymous said...

the crime rate declined in lots of places across the country in that time period, most dramatically in NYC. Does anyone know what the law is in NYC regarding carrying a concealed gun on your person or in your car?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I'm not saying the CCL law CAUSED crime to drop, and I don't know NYC's law. I'm just saying CCLs didn't cause murders to INCREASE in Texas, and I don't believe this law will do so either.

Anonymous said...

Because the murder rate was dropping across the nation in the 90s, instead of saying we'll we passed the CCL laws and the overall murder rate did not increase, you should instead look at each murder and see if a gun was used that the person had in his or her possession legally because of the CCL law. Then you would know if the CCL caused any increase in murders.

In addition, you should do an empirical study of each suicide to determine how many suicides were committed by people who were legally in possession of the gun they used to kill themselves, because after the CCL law was approved they went out and bought a gun and got a permit to carry it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I don't know why I should do those things; I've been convinced by past analyses I've seen of CCL holders and their relative likelihood to commit gun crimes, and don't oppose the new law. If I see evidence that says it's creating a lot of problems that's one thing. But the burden of proof lies on those who want to overcriminalize and apply the penalty to otherwise law abiding citizens, not on this blogger.

Anonymous said...

yeah, better not find out too much evidence that might wobble your ideological support for gun rights.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@4:36 - How much research would you have me do before having an opinion? You've presented no evidence, yet you're content to offer yours, albeit with a sneer and looking down your nose at any who dispute your sense of the obvious.

Most people will never know the law changed. The only difference will be who gets prosecuted.

And btw, I changed my opinion because evidence didn't support it - that's the opposite of an ideological stance. Bring different evidence to table and we'll talk again.

Anonymous said...

Here's some actual research on the subject that FWIW supports Grits assertion: "What we can say with some confidence is that allowing more people to carry guns does not cause an increase in crime."

ibmalor said...

well for some of you ignorant people.....that are against guns if you get car jacked or something dont go crying to the police cause u are unaware of how to protect youself or to afraid u might as well suck it up and take it u know where...in the texas constitution it simply states that every texan has the right to life,liberty,and the protection of personal property..and if ya all dont beleive in that then move to iraq or something u would fit in perfectly..