News & Politics

Texas Passes Bill to Let People Open Carry Firearms in the Wake of Natural Disasters

Texas Passes Bill to Let People Open Carry Firearms in the Wake of Natural Disasters
People evacuate a neighborhood inundated after water was released from nearby Addicks Reservoir when it reached capacity due to Tropical Storm Harvey on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

On Sunday, the Texas Senate approved a bill that would allow Texans to carry their firearms for up to a week after a natural disaster. The bill narrowly passed, 16-15. Governor Abbott will need to sign the bill before it becomes law.

It sounds like a terrific idea. When society’s infrastructure has broken down, there’s nothing like a firearm to make sure people stay in line. An armed society is a polite society and all that good stuff.

Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston, one of the three Republicans who voted against it, raised concerns that the bill was dramatically expanded from the version the Senate debated earlier this year to one that could present real problems for police working after a hurricane or other disaster.

“It’s really, really poor public policy that is not well thought out,” said Huffman, a former judge. “It is not solving a problem. It is creating a problem.”

What sort of problems would it create if people were able to protect themselves? Police would be better utilized managing other problems and consequences from a disaster than they would handling looters and other miscreants who take advantage after a disaster.

Gun owners asked for these license rules to be loosened after Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in 2017. Gun control groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America oppose the bill, but the NRA supported it, saying it would allow Texans to protect themselves and their property from being looted after a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Beaumont GOP Rep. Dade Phelan’s bill, as originally filed, would have allowed people to carry for a full week after a natural disaster. But its Senate sponsor, Brandon Creighton of Conroe, later changed it to 48 hours. The bill was changed back to one week late last week, when a conference committee of 10 lawmakers met to hash out the final version of the bill. Huffman and Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, did not sign off on the changes.

What’s the difference between 48 hours and a week? Is “day 3” the day people starting killing each other with their weapons?

Sheriff Art Acevedo of Houston hopes Governor Abbott doesn’t sign the bill because he says it “isn’t needed.”

In his tweet, the sheriff uses one of the traditional gun-control talking points, which is that these 20,000+ gang members would not be concealing a firearm if not for this bill allowing everyone post-disaster to carry without a license. This is ridiculous. Are the gangsters sitting around waiting for the legislature’s green light to conceal their firearms? Doubtful. In the left’s fantasy world, criminals obey the law.

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