Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Solution to gunplay at capitol: Many more guns

Here's a bizarre irony regarding the decision to put up metal detectors at the entrances to the Texas capitol, as reported by Mike Ward at the Statesman:

Bill Miller already has his ticket to the express lane. Brad Shields is getting one.

Both veteran lobbyists are among dozens, perhaps hundreds, of the nearly 1,500 registered lobbyists who are scrambling to get state licenses to allow them to carry concealed handguns. Most don't want to pack a pistol, though they legally could, but want the license to get into the State Capitol quickly during the legislative session that starts in January.

"Because of a scare with one crazy guy with a gun, the only way to get quick access to the Capitol will be to carry a gun," said Shields, who has been a lobbyist for nearly three decades. He represents a variety of business clients, along with associations representing everything from yoga practitioners to dental hygienists to audiologists. "Now, that makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?"

Lots of folks are going to do this. So now anybody who wants to use a gun at the capitol needn't bring one themselves. If they're tough enough to beat up a lobbyist (not generally a high threshold), they can just take one from a civilian once they're inside.

And of course, the shooting incident spurring all this foolishness happened outside the capitol. So now all the civilians with guns will quickly go inside while gaggles of unarmed people wait in line outside the doors to go through the metal detectors, maximizing the number of soft targets.

Genius, huh? The Law of Unintended Consequences remains in full effect.

This is definitely little more than security theater, the only question being if it's merely a goofball comedy or a prelude to a tragedy.

See related Grits posts:

12 comments:

doran said...

"...tough enough to beat up a lobbyist (not generally a high threshold)..."

How awfully droll of you, Grits.

Nice.

r said...

Where do you get the "disarm a civilian" idea? You believe this happens frequently? If so, where is the support for this?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

r - lots of people who've never handled a gun in their lives will be getting permits solely for the purpose of bypassing security. These people for the most part have no background that would make one think most would know how to fend off an attacker who caught them by surprise. Most lobbyists aren't real tough folks.

R. Shackleford said...

Super. 1500 lobbyists running around the capitol, armed to the teeth and drunk as lords. The Elephant Room will be a frigging shooting gallery.

Donald said...

Especially considering that DPS has a tough enough time processing CHL licenses and renewals in a timely manner, it would make so much more sense for DPS simply to allow people to apply for a Capitol access pass. Show a legitimate need for frequent access, pass a background check, pay a sizable fee which will be passed on to clients anyway, and get a card.

Anyone who visits the Travis County courthouses knows that the long lines at the metal detectors would be so much longer but for the fact that attorneys who have received passes from TCSO get waved through.

Anonymous said...

Grits said:
"So now anybody who wants to use a gun at the capitol needn't bring one themselves. If they're tough enough to beat up a lobbyist (not generally a high threshold), they can just take one from a civilian once they're inside."

Of course, they would be taking the chance that the lobbyist would actually have the gun on their person, and not just deposit it in their desk drawer with their car keys and whatnot when they get to the office. This really is a foolish suggetstion you are proposing here.

And, by the way, more guns really is the solution to a high crime rate. That's not even debateable if you bother to look at the crime rates of comparable cities that have strict vs. lax gun laws. But, I will agree with you that the state isn't the brightest bunch of light bulbs in the box. They decided to hold their CHL instructor course in Austin today in a hotel in a sleazey part of town. Many of these individuals were cops. While the course was going on this morning in the conference room, many cars were broken into, and some guns were stolen. (Gosh, I wonder how the theives knew this apple tree was ripe for the picking?) Perhaps, if the CHL people were packing their peices instead of leaving them in their cars, we would have fewer armed theives on the street right now.

Nah, it makes too much sense. After all, if we allowed people to carry guns on their person instead of forcing them to leave them in their cars and homes, how would those poor theives have access to guns? Criminals have rights too, ya know!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"they would be taking the chance that the lobbyist would actually have the gun on their person, and not just deposit it in their desk drawer with their car keys and whatnot when they get to the office."

Lobbyists don't have offices in the capitol.

Anonymous said...

Grits said:
"Lobbyists don't have offices in the capitol."

My mistake. They are in bed so much with each other, that I often confuse lawmakers with lobbyists. However, that's still quite a risk thinking that you are going to disarm an armed lobbyist strictly for the pupose of taking his firearm. It would be much safer to just be patient and get your own CHL.

Anonymous said...

I also find it disturbing that taxpayers are paying for so many state troopers to man the checkpoints.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

2:47, anyone who plans to shoot up the capitol is going to die like a dog when all the DPS troopers hear the first shot and come running (which is why IMO all this is unnecessary). You're right, someone with prior intent can just get a CHL, but anybody thinking that straight isn't going to do this. The problem lies with those who want to go out in a blaze of glory or are mentally deranged and reacting on the spur of the moment. That's who might just take the opportunity to forcibly seize a lobbyist's gun, since they'll now be much more widely available.

Here's the scenario: Crazy person notice a gun under some lobbyist's jacket, follows them into the bathroom or an out of the way corner of the building, sucker punches them, takes the gun and starts shooting.

Does this happen "frequently"? No. But it's just as likely as any of the cockamamy hypotheticals being spun by DPS to justify this, even though there have been no shooting incidents at the capitol, EVER, that would have been prevented by the new metal detectors.

Robert Langham said...

Just because you get a CCL doesn't mean you are REQUIRED to carry a firearm and most folks that hold a license don't bother.
Sorry to see all the useless security. Maybe they will get those full body scanners and the troopers can amuse themselves looking at Capitol Visitors naked.

Anonymous said...

I have a better idea, instead of trying to police the weapons, BAN the lobby! That will fix two very strong issues that has had long lasting affects on Texas. You get two types of crooks out of the state capitol!