This afternoon I made a raid into Austin to chat with Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Patterson, a US Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam and a veteran of Texas’ fight for our way of life against liberalism, is running for lieutenant governor. That race is boiling up to be Texas’ most competitive, with Patterson, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples all vying for the seat in the Republican primary. The Democrats may or may not have a candidate by then, but it won’t matter.
Patterson answered questions on a range of subjects, from why he is seeking the state’s most powerful office, to how can Texas maintain its place atop the nation’s economic rankings.
And we talked about guns.
Patterson is a staunch Second Amendment advocate, as are all of the other candidates in the race, but Patterson bears the distinction of writing Senate Bill 60, which took effect in 1996. (Patterson was a state senator at the time.) That is the Lone Star State’s concealed handgun carry law. As Patterson noted on the law’s 10th anniversary in 2006, opponents of the law predicted shootouts at stop lights, blood running in the streets, and Texas reverting to the lawlessness of the Wild West. It didn’t happen. To the extent that any of that has come true, it’s in anti-gun Chicago, not Texas, which has seen violent crime rates go lower than before concealed carry became legal, while Chicago’s murder rate has gotten out of control.
More guns, less crime. That made me curious: Is there a possibility that Texas could pass an open carry law if Patterson is elected lieutenant governor?
“Yes, there is. As lieutenant governor, that’s one of my Second Amendment objectives is open carry,” Patterson told me. “You know, people just kind of shudder at the thought and I say, you know I lived in Arizona, I’ve lived in Florida, I’ve been to Louisiana a lot. I’ve been to New Mexico, places that have open carry. Nobody worries about it, because frankly, nobody carries openly.
“But I want to be able to. I go top off my truck with gasoline and I don’t want to get out of the truck and have to put my jacket on because I’ve got an inside the waistband holster with a .380 in it. I don’t want to have to be concerned about inadvertent display of a weapon if the wind blows your jacket up, or shirttail.”
This actually is a concern for farmers, ranchers and others in rural communities who have to deal with Texas’ less friendly wildlife. Rattlesnakes and copperheads are among the venomous fauna that still pose a menace even in the medium sized-towns and suburbs.
Patterson continued, getting to the heart of the purpose of open carry: “Frankly, you don’t have to have a reason for enhancing liberty. And, so, when people say ‘Well what do we need it for?’ Well, I don’t have to show you that I need it. I just have to show you that it’s not prohibited constitutionally. And if you could show me a case that open carry results in some bad outcome, I might consider your argument. But you can’t.”
I had asked him during the interview to name his favorite firearms. You’ll have to stick around to PJ later in the week to find out what they are and why he recommends them. After the interview was over and I had stopped the camera, we got to talking about guns so he showed me the revolver that he carries concealed. I regretted having stopped the camera. It’s a nice weapon.
People outside Texas, and some within the bluer parts of the state, may find it strange that a candidate for lieutenant governor not only carries but is happy to prove that he lives by the law that he made history passing. This is Texas, and it’s just how we live. Texas is a Castle Doctrine state with robust Stand Your Ground protections. Perhaps soon we will join the open carry states too.