Skip to comments.Texas Concealed Handgun Law: Ten Years Later
Posted on 01/05/2006 12:39:22 PM PST by Pop Fly
VIEWPOINT: THE CONCEALED HANDGUN LAW: TEN YEARS LATER By Hon. Jerry Patterson
When the Texas Concealed Handgun Law took effect in 1996, pundits and naysayers predicted anarchy. Any minute, there would surely be mass violence as armed Texas citizens began roving the streets settling arguments with gunfire. Certainly, several proclaimed, within a year there would be blood in the streets as Texas returned to the days of the Wild West.
Ten years later the facts paint a different picture. Texas under the Concealed Handgun Law isnt the Wild West, but the Mild West. No recurrent shootouts at four-way stops, no blood in the streets. Quite the contrary, Texans are safer than before.
But why are we safer? Why did the fears of the naysayers fail to materialize?
One of the reasons I authored Senate Bill 60, the Concealed Handgun Law, was because I trust my fellow Texans. Contrary to opinions expressed on almost every editorial page across the state, I knew that when law-abiding Texans constitutional right to keep and bear arms was restored with the passage of S.B. 60, they would exercise good judgment and behave responsibly.
Ten years later, and the statistics continue to prove the point.
Since the passage of the Concealed Handgun Law, the FBI Uniform Crime Report shows an 18% drop in handgun murders, down from 838 in 1995 to 688 in 2004. And a 13% drop in handgun murders per 100,000 population, down from 4.5 murders per 100,000 Texans in 1995 to 3.95 per 100,000 in 2004.
In 2000, on the fifth anniversary of the Concealed Handgun Law, the National Center for Policy Analysis issued a report that indicated Texans with concealed carry permits are far less likely to commit a serious crime than the average citizen.
According to the report, the more than 200,000 Texans licensed to carry a concealed firearm are much more law-abiding than the average person.
The report illustrated that Texans who exercise their right to carry firearms are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for a violent offense. They are 14 times less likely to be arrested for a non-violent offense. And they are 1.4 times less likely to be arrested for murder.
H. Sterling Burnett, a senior policy analyst at the NCPA and the author of the report, concluded:
Many predicted that minor incidents would escalate into bloody shootouts if Texas passed a concealed-carry law. That prediction was dead wrong, Burnett said.
With 247,345 concealed handgun licenses active in Texas as of December 2005, the number of law-abiding licensees has had a positive effect on the crime rate.
Texas Department of Public Safety Uniform Crime Report indicates the overall crime rate in Texas has continued to drop over the past 10 years. In 1997, DPS reported 5,478 crimes per 100,000 Texans, based on a population of 19,355,427 Texans. In 2004, with almost 3 million more Texans, the crime rate is 5,032 per 100,000.
The effect of the Concealed Handgun Law has been so positive, it has converted some of its most outspoken initial critics.
John Holmes, former Harris County district attorney, wrote to me several years after the passage of the law.
As you know, I was very outspoken in my opposition to the passage of the Concealed Handgun Act. I did not feel that such legislation was in the public interest and presented a clear and present danger to law abiding citizens by placing more handguns on our streets, Holmes wrote. Boy was I wrong. Our experience in Harris County , and indeed state-wide, has proven my initial fears absolutely groundless.
Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, shared this view. I lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn't happened, White told the Dallas Morning News. All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it's worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I'm a convert.
To the supporters of individual liberty and the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, this outcome is no surprise. However, the Concealed Handgun Law isnt just about personal safety. Perhaps even deeper than its roots in constitutional freedom, the Concealed Handgun Law is about trust.
And after ten years, the Concealed Handgun Law is a shining example of what happens when elected officials have faith in their fellow Texans.
The legacy of Senate Bill 60 is grounded in the concept that our government should place its trust in us, not the other way around.
Carjackings in Florida just about ended for local folks but skyrocketed for rental cars in South Florida because foreign tourists drove most of them and they were obvioiusly not armed. The license tags were then changed so that rental status is not visible on the tag and that stopped, too. That was the year Florida almost lost its foreign tourist trade.
When will the conservatives get it? To the liberals the criminals are the good guys. The most forthright about this were the Communists in Russia who classed common criminals as "social allies" who had to be locked up from time time when they became inconvenient but were useful in keeping the population scared.
This is a very interesting article, and not surprising in light of John Lott's research.
And I did some research on the Wild West for my first novel (set in 1870's Colorado). The shooting that was done was to enforce the law (at a time when the representatives of the law were few and far between) and stop the (few in number) outlaws that were terrorizing innocent citizens.
It wasn't like people were just shooting each other up for the heck of it.
There was one story I loved about a woman who had a small handgun--was it called the Ladies' Equalizer?--and pulled it out to stop an accused criminal when he tried to bust out of his trial.
I will look it up--I sent the book I had on this ("The Gunslingers," I think it's called--a gorgeous coffee table book with lots of great pictures and history) to a friend of mine whose grandfather was a Wyoming rodeo champion.
Okay, is it possible at all to tell I love Western history? LOL!
The clarification of home defense law took place about then too IIRC, the so-called "make my day" provision arrived.
Home invasions dropped as a result, rarely read about them now and if you do it's usually between druggies.
Exactly. Please see my #43. :)
I had the pleasure of living in Texas for about six months. I love people in the South--so friendly and polite--though they do have their East/West barbecue dispute, LOL! (my boyfriend was from North Carolina).
In any case, this article is certainly timely, given the City of Ottawa's voluntary "illegal gun" handover, set to begin next week, I believe.
I was just shaking my head. Tell me what criminal is going to "hand over their guns, no questions asked."
Ottawa is saying, "if it saves even one life, isn't it worth it?"
Well, I would like to throw that argument back at them. Take a good look at the actual research on what happens when the government takes guns away from law-abiding citizens and then answer that question.
The car vs. assault (lookalike) weapon analogy is fine, but you really mean: (IMHO)
"Ted Kennedy has killed more people with his car than I have with my car."
And my own assault (lookalike) weapon hasn't been used to kill anyone, either.
Mary Jo Kopechne, had she lived, would be 65 now. A wife, mother, grandmother: all those roles were robbed from her by the Swimmer. With no regret other than not becoming President.
Same here and we have yet to shoot anyone.
Just added a new one to my arsenal today. Springfield armory mini compact .45 acp 1911. One helluva fine gun. Getting geared up for the HAT chapter spring shoot.
A good lesson for Wisconsin and a great example to put the libs down with...
Yeee Ha TX
New Travelers law took effect Sept 1 that says any Texan can carry a concealed handgun in their vehicle while out and about regardless of crossing of county line or staying overnight as old traveling defined etc etc....
Now does the fact that there is a travelers law drop the requirement for me to show my CHL to the LEO on the traffic stops ?
Or did that Sept 1 rule state that the "traveler" has to tell the LEO they have a firearm in the vehicle ?
Anyone know if that was brought up ?
Having had a CHL for so long I didn't even think about it.
If stopped I will present my CHL with my TDL as I understand that nothing has changed in this regard.
Plus the offense will probably minor as in 120 in a 70 or some such thing that will only land me a warning.
Seriously, I read the law a few weeks ago and didn't see this mentioned. This law will probably modified to force them to do so.
Once again, very good question!
I'm full of questions as ya well know........;o)
It's the answers I must seek !
Maybe a call to this State Rep Keel will do at the link above ?!?!?!?
Thanks Eaker !
Let me know as this affects the few people I know that aren't licensed.
I had the privilege of riding my Harley from California to Virginia twice, once in 1982 and again in 1984. I Both times I had a 30 day leave. As I have a strong interest in history, I had to stop at historical points of interest Tombstone, Arizona among them. Hollywood tells us people were shot in the street every day. Not so. I checked out Abilene, Kansas another rough, tough shoot em up town according to Hollywood. Nope. Loud drunks after a cattle drive, but shootings were rare. Local libraries keep old newspapers on microfilm, and it was actually a lot of work to find news of wild west shoot outs. In no old West town could I find Hollywood.
I also checked out old Army posts. I had visions of the Hollywood version a wood stockade on the plains, under constant Indian attack. Nope. Logs come from trees and there were few trees on the Plains. There were also few Indian attacks. The accounts I read showed utter boredom to be the real enemy.
There was one other place of interest I want to mention but couldnt remember the name when I posted Dodge City. A true Hollywood gunslinging town.
Nope. Really kinda peaceful.
I agree, but we gotta start somewhere. 'Must Issue' is much better than 'May Issue' like NJ where only the rich, famous, or politically connected get permits.