Skip to comments.Houston Bus Riders Can Take Guns Aboard
Posted on 01/27/2005 3:28:02 PM PST by NativeTexun
Houston transit riders can carry guns 04:32 PM CST on Thursday, January 27, 2005 HOUSTON Houston area residents licensed to carry concealed handguns can now take their weapons aboard buses and light rail trains. The board of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County on Thursday repealed its long-standing ban of concealed weapons. The transit authority, also known as Metro, had banned such weapons on its buses and trains since 1995, when the Legislature voted to allow licensed owners to carry concealed handguns in most public places. In 2003, the state amended the concealed handgun law to prevent Texas cities from banning such weapons from public buildings. In response to the change in the law, Metro officials on Thursday voted to amend their policy to now prohibit the unlawful carrying of such weapons. "I think Metro was not enthusiastic about people carrying handguns on board, but we cannot legally ban people who are legally carrying those handguns from being on Metro," said David Wolff, Metro's chairman. The change in Metro's policy was sparked by a lawsuit filed in October 2003 by several organizations. "Metro is to be commended. They did the right thing. They did the lawful thing. They saved their ratepayers unnecessary funds to litigate it further," said Texas General Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is chairman of the Civil Liberties Defense Foundation, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit.
(Excerpt) Read more at dallasnews.com ...
Full text of article posted .. do not need to go to URL on this one....
Gotta love Texans! I hope they can site that in Portland Oregon! There is a Liberal trying to take our gun rights away again here. Ooooo big surprise there... DOH!
Thanks for posting this!!!
Hello every body,
This is my first post on these forums (though I enter others).
Im all for legalised gun ownership but isnt this a little extreme? Somehow I can imagine that people who ride on busses have a social obligation to respect the wishes of others (i.e. those who do not feel secure around firearms). One would not smoke on a public bus service for similar reasons
Although equally it could be said that now we are allowing potential hostage takers onto busses with firearms.
Well, we don't have to have their enthusiam--all we need is what we got--the right to bear arms on the transit system.
I guess since there haven't been any of those wildly predicticted shoot-outs in the streets since they "allowed" us to carry in public buildings, there didn't seem to be any reason for them to keep their ban in place.
>>Gotta love Texans! <<
Yup, still hints of the Wild West. ; >
>>Thanks for posting this!!! <<
Criminals do not obey laws--get that?
Welcome aboard. You may want to study the history of this topic in the United States to gain a better understanding of why so many Americans consider stories such as this a good thing.
Or, if you prefer, you could ignore the background of the topic and ask questions such as these. Your call.
But speaking as someone who has seen this issue go round and round for decades, I strongly recommend the option that involves study first.
In my opinion, you will find the result of doing that more productive than rehashing the same old arguments again and again and again and again...
Either way, good luck.
Welcome to FR. This is the wrong target to pick for your first post.......pun intended.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
See, if you do try any of those activities, then you'll find out who's armed.
Jan. 27, 2005, 3:58PM
Riders with permits will be allowed to carry concealed handguns on boardBy ROMA KHANNA
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
A showdown about the right to carry concealed handguns on Metro trains and buses had a peaceful ending today.
CONCEALED HANDGUN TIMELINE 1996: Texas' handgun law takes effect, allowing licensed owners to carry weapons in many public places as long as they remain concealed. The law prompted restrictions on carrying them in places such as county parks and on public transportation.
1997: Mayoral candidate Rob Mosbacher proposes rescinding Metro's ban. His opponent Lee Brown calls the idea "frightening."
2003: Gov. Rick Perry signs into a law a bill that strips local governments of the ability to ban legally concealed weapons from their buildings, such at city hall and police stations. The Texas State Rifle Association and several licensed gun owners, including Land Commission Jerry Patterson, sue Metro seeking to strike down their ban.
2005: Metro is poised to repeal its ban on concealed handguns.
Future: Patterson intends to fight similar bans in other Texas cities.
Metro's board unanimously approved the policy change this afternoon without discussion. It removes a section of a 1995 regulation that stated no exception to the authority's weapons ban was provided for concealed-handgun license holders. The new rule prohibits ``the possession of dangerous weapons'' and ``the unlawful carrying of a concealed handgun in or on Metro facilities or vehicles.''
According to Metro attorneys, the old policy was valid until the Legislature passed the 2003 law banning governmental bodies from prohibiting the lawful carrying of concealed weapons on government property unless those locations are specifically mentioned in the law. Transit vehicles and facilities are not among those locations exempted from the concealed-carry law.
``Metro's resolution must be amended so that there are no conflicts with existing law,'' said director George DeMontrond. ``This would bring us into compliance.''
Though proponents of the change claimed a philosophical victory, the policy change is not likely to have any practical effect. Tom Lambert, Metro police chief, said there was never an incident involving a concealed-carry permit holder since 1995, though transit police have made some arrests of unlicensed individuals carrying weapons. Any permit holder exposing a gun on Metro vehicles or any unlicensed person observed with a weapon will continue to face arrest, Lambert said.
State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who wrote the legislation as a state senator, has been a vocal critic of bans such as those adopted by Metro and many other government entities in Texas in response to the "right-to-carry" law.
He, the Texas State Rifle Association and four licensed Harris County gun owners sued Metro in 2003, seeking to overturn the ban. Now that Metro is dropping its policy, he said, he plans to challenge similar restrictions in other cities, probably starting with Austin's Capital Metro.
"They implemented these when there was collective hysteria from detractors, who said there would be blood in the streets and shootouts at every four-way stop," Patterson said. "None of that proved true."
Though he and his fellow plaintiffs hailed Metro's move as a victory, all parties involved agreed that the practical effects on riders will be few.
Metro spokesman Ken Connaughton said transit officials don't expect any actual changes for riders.
Patterson said the ban was essentially unenforceable and that many Metro riders already carry pistols.
"It was a prohibition against undetectable conduct because, by law, it is required for it to be concealed, to begin with," he said. "I have carried my handgun on Metro buses on at least three occasions because I knew it to be an unlawful restriction."
Mixed feelingsSome riders waiting at stops along the light rail line Wednesday expressed concerns about the change.
"I have seen arguments on buses, and this means that someone could be in the position to pull out their gun," said Terry Mulhern, 50, a frequent rider on the rail. "It could get very dangerous."
But Thomas Martin, a 34-year-old electrician, called the change a simple formality.
"There is nothing stopping someone from carrying a handgun onto a bus or train now not a metal detector or even someone watching," he said. "And I don't see a problem."
Metro is one of many government agencies that adopted such bans, from the Texas Department of Public Safety to municipalities across the state, after lawmakers approved the "concealed carry" gun law in 1995. The law allowed businesses to ban weapons and local governments to restrict their presence from some public facilities, such as schools and courtrooms.
Metro adopted its ban in September 1995. Officials acknowledged that they might not be able to charge violators with a crime, but said they wanted to send a message to riders that guns were not welcome on Metro vehicles.
Connaughton said he did not know whether anyone had ever been told to leave a Metro train or bus for carrying a concealed handgun.
Similar bans were adopted in Austin and San Antonio, among other cities.
Dallas operates the largest transportation system in Texas without such a ban. A spokesman for Dallas Area Rapid Transit said board members chose not to adopt one because they believed it would be illegal.
The Legislature has made changes in the handgun law during the years. The most significant adjustment came in 2003, when local governments lost the ability to ban legally concealed weapons from their buildings.
Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a bill that barred local governments from using state criminal-trespass laws to keep licensed concealed-handgun owners from entering government buildings or offices such as city halls or council members' offices.
Metro cited that law as the impetus for reviewing its policy, although the transit authority never relied on trespass laws to enforce its ban.
Applies only to handgunsThe resolution on the board's agenda today would reduce the current prohibition on "the possession of handguns and other dangerous weapons" to a ban on "the possession of dangerous weapons" and the "unlawful carrying of a concealed handgun." Under the new policy, a concealed handgun will not be considered a "dangerous weapon."
James Knouse, 53, and his wife, Mary Ann, two of the four Harris County licensed gun owners who joined the lawsuit, welcomed the change.
Mary Ann Knouse, 51, uses a wheelchair and her husband walks with a cane. They said they did not ride Metro vehicles after the ban for fear that they would be targets.
"It is a dangerous world we live in, and they wanted to stop us from carrying our guns," James Knouse said. "We don't use Metro at all because of their policy, but we might now."
In addition to taking on transportation agencies, Patterson said he will challenge other local governments' restrictions. One possible target, he said, is the requirement that people who lawfully carry handguns into Houston City Hall wear red badges.
"Some folks ask me why I'm doing this," Patterson said. "The answer is, I'll quit when local governments quit ignoring the law."
Thats because you are British, and come from a culture of Sheep, you are bred to obey and have no means of protection.
Crime is rampant in England and getting worse.
I think if you track the Crime rate in Houston for a year or two you might feel more comfortable around Honest Law abiding Folk who happen to be "Strapped"
Especially when one of them "Gut Shoots a Mugger attacking you"
It's the American way!
Unfortunately not all people are so mindful of others opinions.
This is TEXAS, where self-defense IS LEGAL.
Im all for legalised gun ownership but isnt this a little extreme? Somehow I can imagine that people who ride on busses have a social obligation to respect the wishes of others (i.e. those who do not feel secure around firearms).I used to work a late shift, in a not very good neighborhood, at a job that didn't pay enough for me to own a car.
Same argument goes with banning CHL inside stores.
One would not smoke on a public bus service for similar reasonsSure, but you don't see the city banning people from carrying a concealed pack of Marlboro's while riding the bus.
Depends in what state, but not really. Those who are licensed to carry have the lowest crime rate of any group of citizens.
In fact, I would not know which of those on the bus are carrying or not. That's they whole point of concealed carry. The criminals don't know who is or is not carrying.
"An Armed Society is A Polite Society" Robert Heinlein
Oh, I see, you think that potential hostage takers were waiting for a law to make it legal for permit holders to carry before getting on a bus or train, etc. with a firearm. Of course they would. Anyone thinking about taking public transportation hostage wouldn't dream of doing it illegally now would they? They were just waiting so they wouldn't break any laws before taking a bunch of people hostage, and that is assuming they have a carrry permit.
The stupidity of some people is not to be believed. Yes, I mean you, feel free to take offense because I did at your post!
Unfortunately, those folks probably do believe at this point in their indoctrination that guns are evil and those who carry them are just itching for a reason to slap leather and gun down innocent bystanders.
Not at all. They require that safeties be kept on while boarding or debusing. Children under the age of five are not permitted to handle weapons without an adult supervising. And no weapon may be allowed to intrude into the personal space of other passengers.
Of course not. When it's time for their bus drivers to get off work they just pull over to the side of the street, park the bus and leave.
Passengers have to wait for another driver to arrive.
But maybe now the driver will be a little less eager to abandon the passengers.
I don't feel secure on a train when someone is reading a book by Michael Moore. But, I feel no social obligation to have the book forcibly removed from him. If you don't like guns, don't own one.
No it isn't extreme, the gun must be concealed, those who do not feel comfortable around firearms won't know it is there.
The difference is, were someone to smoke on a public bus, it would be obvious to everyone in the bus.
If a gangsta was robbing and raping one of these people "unconfortable" with concealed guns, do you think she would tell me to go away if I tried to rescue her with my .38 Special?
Should people who ride buses be required to leave their rights at the curb? Worse, they'd be defenseless walking to and from the bus stop. Many who ride buses do so because they can't afford to drive, so I favor not only this change, but also the availability of inexpensive handguns because a person's rights should not be contingent on their ability to afford a $500-1,000 pistol. And, for the most part, armed citizens only need a gun that will go "bang" that one time they need it.
You say you're "for legalised gun ownership". That could mean you favor you and your friends being able to have them for your own reasons, but maybe not "the masses"? Maybe you're also "for legalised free speech" as long as it doesn't become too extreme?
Any non-felon has the right to carry a firearm anywhere he damn well pleases. I have a permit and I follow the laws because I don't want the hassle of not doing so, but the laws are still wrong.
EVERYONE will be safer.
Wake up and smell the blood. The biggest problem with public transit is lingering in a "target zone" waiting for the vehicle to arrive. Likewise when you get off.
The people most likely to "be offended" are the criminals (people who don't obey the law) who like their victims unarmed.
Wake up and smell the dictionary. Criminal: someone who doesn't obey the law. So, why would a criminal obey any law about carrying weapons anywhere?
And one should clean the drunks off their streets in residential neighborhoods so the children could play in their yards!!
Busy yourself in the UK.
My family lived in Houston for a number of years, and damn I love that town! Maybe the hero with the fastest draw will rein supreme just like in the old westerns. Here's hoping they pop the bad guys right between their eyes.
Note that these are *concealed* weapons. Your people (the insecure) would not know that the weapons were there unless they were feeling up the other passengers.
Hi Unknown - Your first post is drawing some fire. I think you simply do not understand. Did I read a headline this week that there is a law being considered to make it a crime to carry a knife in your fair nation?
>>Maybe the hero with the fastest draw will rein supreme just like in the old westerns. Here's hoping they pop the bad guys right between their eyes.<<
What a Texas-sounding sentiment! If you're not a native, you lived here long enough that Texas "rubbed off" on you. ; >
Thanks for the additional info!
This decision of Houston Metro reminds me of a casino bus that was hijacked on the way to Shreveport a few years ago. A cell phone saved the day on that one. One of the passengers called police via her cell.
Imagine if the idiots tried to pull off that stunt and got a barrel in their face!
Actually, statistics will show that armed citizens will make the other riders safer. If the others don't feel safe, let them get a permit to carry for themselves. Here in Mississippi, it is very easy, you go to a gun store, hand over a drivers license, they run a background check, sell you the gun and the carry permit (good for three years at a cost of $100, it is called a "gunslinger's license" believe it or not!) at the same time, and you are on your merry way....
Bet you the crime rate aboard Metro buses craters.
Spooky looking white guys who stand around not looking at anyone in particular tend to put a gangsta off his game.
Shortening crime careers saves the public tax money. Bad for the lawyers, though -- they'll come after you for cancelling a valuable client. They can't afford to give up all that repeat business.
Oh and the government in England is after your big bad BB guns. Can you carry a wood toothpick over there?