Gun Debate Continues--Amid Backdrop of Ft. Hood Shooting
by Jim Forsyth
Amid the backdrop of last week's shooting at Ft. Hood and the weekend protest by gun rights groups at a San Antonio Police substation, the Texas Legislature is again debating whether it should be easier or more difficult to carry a weapon in public, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Texas law allows, but San Antonio law prohibits, people from openly carrying loaded rifles down the street without any sort of license or permit, something Hillary Rand of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in Texas said needs to change.
"It is incredibly easy and perfectly legal to purchase and carry a gun in Texas without a background check," Rand said. "This makes for a very dangerous situation."
But Master Sergeant C.J. Grisham, who was at Ft. Hood during Wednesday's shooting, says he has never felt more helpless, because post policy requires that he not be armed.
"When you disarm law abiding citizens you empower citizens, whether it is on the largest military base in the country or the smallest convenience store in Texas," he said.
Sgt. Grisham is a martyr for the open carry movement. He was fined $2,000 last year after he was arrested for carrying a rifle down a street in Temple, near Ft. Hood, while helping his son earn a Boy Scout merit badge.
A similar case sparked the demonstration at the Culebra Road substation on Sunday. A teenager was tased by police officers in an altercation after he was stopped while carrying a loaded rifle down Donaldson Ave. In the video taped confrontation, the teenager was respectful to officers, but insisted he was not breaking the law.
NRA lobbying Tara Meeka-Riley told lawmakers that allowing people to carry rifles down the street is a no brainer.
"I lobby in three other states for the NRA, in New Mexico, Louisiana, and Mississippi," she said. "I each one of those, you can carry openly without a license, and in each one of those, there are not far reaching problems in those states."
Another problem is the variance between state law and city law when it comes to the carrying of firearms.
Open Carry Texas and other groups are also lobbying for laws that would allow people to carry weapons openly. Currently, even people with concealed carry permits can be arrested if their gun is visible on the street.