No sooner had Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asserted that open carry didn’t have the votes to pass in the Lone Star State’s legislature than “a deluge of angry calls and comments from gun rights activists” caused him to change his tune, reports Morgan Smith in the Texas Tribune. “Announcing he had referred to committee another firearms bill — one allowing concealed handguns to be carried on university campuses by those with appropriate licenses — Patrick said he was now free to ‘focus on other Second Amendment issues, including open carry, which I have consistently supported.'” . . .
It’s good to see that the blowback from the ill-advised open carry lobbying effort earlier in the month was tempered by some good old-fashioned phone calls and letter-writing. Having the support of the majority of the people counts for something after all.
Still, it shouldn’t have required a phone-in campaign in the first place. Yes, shame on Dan Patrick for going a bit wobbly. Politicians are rational, calculating creatures by their very nature, though, and it was predictable that even our usual allies in the Texas legislature (Texas, for pity’s sake, we’re talking about Texas here) might have had a second thought or two about holding firm on the issue after open carry supporters got into a bit of a row with one of their own:
The confrontation led to the installation of new panic buttons in lawmakers’ offices. On Wednesday, dozens of House members wore name tags on the floor with the words “I’m Poncho” to show support for Nevárez, who now has a security detail after receiving death threats.
A Republican, Drew Springer of Muenster, was behind the gesture. He said he came up with the idea after Nevárez joked that he should hand out “I’m Not Poncho” stickers to fellow lawmakers so that they would not be targets.
“Immediately I thought just the opposite — we need to show support for him, that we aren’t going to let people threaten us,” he said. “We’re not going to let people, in some cases from out of state, threaten us physically and try to get their way. That’s just not the way democracy works. It’s not the way Texas works.”
Let’s hope that this is the last controversy we encounter concerning Rep. Stickland’s open carry bill, and that it gets to the governor’s desk without any more own goals from the pro-gun camp.