Texas Two-Step Politics: Distract and Pacify

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The current gun rights debate in Texas is a prime example. Did you know that the majority of the country, with the exception of 6 states (including Texas), every other state in the Union has some form of open carry. Most of those states (31) have unrestricted open carry with no permit required, while only 13 states require a permit to open carry. The current debate revolves around whether Texas will join the majority of America by fully restoring the rights of its citizens to keep and bear arms or the minority who still maintain a protected class of citizens who may exercise their rights. Therein lies the current debate in Texas. Those who have had enough of the two-step and pacifier legislation vs. those who take the typical status quo Texas Two-Step approach. I’ll simplify it for you as best I can, post-civil war Texas was under martial law and was effectively disarmed in public anyway.

After well over 100 years of being a disarmed police state in the public arena, the legislature finally passed a minimal level of rights for SOME Texans with concealed carry. This pacified many who demanded their rights restored in the wake of the Luby’s shooting and the impassioned work of Suzanna Hupp-Gratia. The passage of the Texas Concealed Handgun Law served two purposes, political cover for politicians while keeping guns out of sight and out of mind of the general population. That out of sight, out of mind approach kept a complacent population pacified until recently. With the rise of terrorist threats and a national push for more gun control, many Texans again woke up and realized that they are still effectively disarmed. The exception for those who jump through the hoops, pay the fees and continue to pay the state extortion money to maintain their “right” to bear arms. Now, as the support for a full restoration of rights grows, the pacifiers and status quo Two-Steppers flood the public perception with negative images and a “compromise.” Licensed open carry is being sold to the Texas people as a responsible first step on the road to constitutional carry and an “expansion” of Texas gun rights. Despite the use of the typical catch phrases like “reasonable” and “common sense” that we hear repeatedly chanted by the anti-gun crowd, what does licensed open carry actually do? NOTHING. Nothing changes except where the protected class wears their shirt tail, tucked behind the gun or draped in front of it. No more Texans will be able to exercise their rights, but the current Texans who paid to exercise their rights will have more freedom in their wardrobe. Of course the politicians who signed on to licensed open carry will be able to maintain their pro-gun status and NRA/TSRA rating for the next election. Then there is the fact that since Texans have been so CONDITIONED to concealed carry and guns have been so demonized by the opposition that very few IF ANY Texas Permit holders will every actually use this new hard fought for freedom to open carry. Status Quo.

The other dirty little secret of Texas politics is the fact that this “very red” Republican state is run by “very blue” Democrats. Let me paint you a picture of Texas politics starting with the Texas House of Representatives led by Joe Straus. Straus is a Republican, at least according to the state election board. He became and has remained Speaker of the House primarily with the support of the House Democrats and a heavy hand against any Republican challengers. There is a reason they call him the “Harry Reid of Texas.” It is interesting to note that the 19 representatives who voted against Joe Straus for Speaker are nowhere near any committees hearing gun legislation. In the past when open carry bills have been filed in the House, he has been credited with letting them die in committee. Those were licensed open carry bills that we have already established make no actually changes to the law or practice of carrying other than cosmetics and wardrobe. This time around already appears to be more of the same. Let’s just take a look at the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee appointments who will be considering these carry bills.

Committee Chair, Larry Phillips, authored HB910 (Licensed Open Carry Bill) that will competing with the HB195 Constitutional Carry bill.
Contact Info: Larry Phillips (R) District 62, Sherman TX. (512) 463-0297

Vice-Chair, Poncho “Panic Button” Nevárez, had a video taped confrontation with Constitutional Carry advocates resulting in a House rules change that directs the Department of Public Safety to ensure that each House member could request a panic button that “alerts the department in the case of emergency.” Nevárez stated clearly that he would NOT support the bill despite the signed petitions from his constituents that were being delivered at the time and continue to accumulate in numbers.
Contact Info: Poncho Nevárez (D) District 74, Eagle Pass TX. (512) 463-0566
Seniority Appointments
Will Metcalf (R) District 16, Conroe TX. (512) 463-0726
Molly White (R) District 55 Belton/Temple TX. (512)463-0630
Speaker Straus Appointees
Dewayne Burns (R) District 58, Johnson/Bosque County TX. (512) 463-0538
Tony Dale (R) District 136, Williamson County TX. (512) 463-0696
Eric Johnson (D) District 100, Dallas TX. (512) 463-0586
Joe Moody (D) District 78, El Paso TX. (512) 463-0728
John Wray (R) District 10, Waxahachie TX. (512) 463-0516
 *in the interest of full disclosure CDH publicly endorsed his Republican Primary opponent TJ Fabby in the HD10 race.

As you can see, Constitutional Carry has an uphill climb in the House, not only is Chairman Phillips the Author of the leading licensed carry bill and Vice Chair Nevarez publicly opposed, but ANYTHING coming out of this committee has to get through Speaker Straus as well, who’s track record on this issue is less than encouraging. On the Senate side, the issue is not quite so grim, although not without obstacles there as well. The State Affairs Committee will have its challenges as well, however the recent Senate rules change by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will at least help get SOMETHING out of committee and to the floor. The question is what? So far there are only TWO carry bills filed in the Senate, SB342 (Constitutional Carry) filed by Don Huffines (R) District 16, North Dallas County and SB346 (Licensed Open Carry) filed by Craig Estes (R) District 30, Wichita Falls and North Central Texas area. Sen. Estes is on the committee, but Sen. Huffines and co-author Sen. Konni Burton are not. Houston Residents have a lot of sway in this committee since both the Chair (Huffman) and Vice-Chair (Ellis) are both Houston area Senators. If you want to have a say in it, here are your contacts:

Committee Chair Joan Huffman (R) District 17, Houston TX. (512) 463-0117
Vice-Chair Rodney Ellis (D) District 13, Houston TX. (512) 463-0113

Craig Estes (R) District 30, Wichita Falls TX. (512) 463-0130
 *AUTHOR of SB346 Licensed Open Carry Bill
Brian Birdwell (R) District 22, Grandbury TX. (512) 463-0122
 *Co-Author of the SB346, the Estes Licensed Open Carry Bill
Brandon Creighton (R) District 4, N. Houston/Conroe/Galveston/Beaumont/Port Arthur areas. (512) 463-0104
 *Co-Author of the SB346, the Estes Licensed Open Carry Bill
Jane Nelson (R) District 12, Flower Mound TX. (512) 463-0112
 *Co-Author of the SB346, the Estes Licensed Open Carry Bill
Troy Fraser (R) District 24, Horseshoe Bay TX. (512) 463-0124
Charles Schwertner (R) District 5, Georgetown TX. (512) 463-0105
Judith Zaffirini (D) District 21, Laredo TX. (512) 463-0121

In closing the it would appear that the Texas Two-Step of politics is alive and well. The deck is stacked against the full restoration of Texas Rights in the form of Constitutional Carry unless the People Of Texas speak up in force and demand their rights restored. Licensed open carry, or the “tuck in your shirt” bill has a chance of passing, but gives Texans NONE of their rights back other than more flexibility in their wardrobe. It is clear that Texas politicians and “pro-gun” lobbyists who are supposed to protect our rights have no intention to do any such thing. Political cover, protecting lobbyist ratings and maintaining the status quo through nothing more than cosmetic changes are the standard operating procedures. Complacency and apathy of the people is implied consent. Only YOU can break the log jam and insist upon the full restoration of your rights. The time is now to make a choice, continue to be pacified by smoke and mirror politics or get involved and be heard. The first order of business is to get something out of committee which will require influencing the people listed above, what comes out of committee is up to YOU. Don’t be distracted by the antics and tactics of a few undisciplined advocates and don’t be pacified by meaningless cosmetic changes. A Right is a RIGHT, period. Anything regulated by the state is but a privilege to be given or taken away at the whim of those who exercise power while those they represent are complacent and apathetic.

If you are a freedom loving Texan, SIGN THE PETITION and join the grassroots efforts to restore the freedoms Texas was founded upon.

Constitutional Carry


Jon Britton aka DoubleTap is Chief Operating Officer of CDH, Inc., a regular contributing author and regularly involved in most aspects of their social media. “Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion.” A passion that has taken him in many directions from explorations of the zombie subculture and zombie stories to political advocacy. Joining the U.S. Air Force right out of high school, Jon had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the world and different cultures. His post military career path, both white collar and blue collar, allowed him to work alongside both CEOs and average Joes. As a founding member Cold Dead Hands his study of human nature and writing ability found a purpose. His zombie roots provided a variety of issues from prepping to human behavior under crisis to firearms that he applies to his advocacy for gun rights. A ravenous appetite for the study of history combined with his current events political junkie addiction led to him writing an e-book Gun Sense: Past, Present and Future.

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