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By James England (via concealednation.org)

Carrying a concealed firearm into the Texas state capitol building is as easy as bringing your Texas concealed carry permit. Yet state representative Drew Springer is miffed he had to leave his concealed carry firearm in his car while visiting a deputy sheriff at the Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. So miffed, in fact, he decided it’s high time such nonsense came to an end. This is Texas, after all. They have a reputation to uphold . . .

Last spring, Rep. Springer proposed a House bill which would, in effect, eliminate the majority of gun-free zones in the state.  Springer’s patch of electorate stretches across multiple counties – Amarillo to Dallas-Forth Worth.  Included in that patch of ground are plenty of fantastic hospitals.

From KERA News:

“I’ve had both employees as well as visitors of their loved ones that have said we’re right here on the interstate, there’s a big sign that says hospital and people are coming off and trying to rob them of their drugs,” Springer says. “They feel vulnerable and they want the right to be able to protect themselves.”

While there seems to be plenty of proponents interested in maintaining their right to self-defense no matter the location, Dallas County Hospital District Police Captain Dan Birbeck adamantly disagreed with the initiative in his interview with Kera News.

Amongst his arguments against such legislation, he cited the number of psychiatric patients whom come to the facility seeking help – and those firearms may pose an additional risk that he feels is unwarranted.

The case precedent he used to support this claim was an event that happened at the Parkland Hospital where a prisoner whom was seeking treatment managed to overpower the deputy guarding him and take his firearm.  He was eventually caught.

And then there’s also the shooting at the Veterans Affairs clinic in El Paso earlier this year. As the Washington Post reported:

The doctor who was fatally shot at an El Paso Veterans Affairs clinic on Tuesday had previously filed a threat complaint against his alleged killer, FBI officials said Wednesday.

VA psychologist Timothy Fjordbak, 63, was allegedly shot and killed by Jerry Serrato, 48, on the fourth floor of the El Paso Veteran Affairs Clinic,  FBI special agent Doug Lindquist said. Then Serrato “actually went to the third floor, and that’s where he took his own life,” Lindquist said.

Quick question: how does enforcing a “gun-free zone” prevent future events like these from taking place?

It’s a central question lingering in the debates as this House bill makes its rounds in the Texas House of Representatives.  If passed, it will greatly reduce the number of “gun-free zones” in Texas and allow concealed carriers more unfettered access to their normal (and emergency care) routines.

45 Responses to Texas Rep Wants An End To Hospital “Gun-Free Zones”

  1. Read the comment on the original article. Keep in mind before you post that KERA reads all posts before letting them go live.

  2. There was a case a few months ago in a hospital in Philadelphia. A psych patient shot a nurse to death and wounded his psychiatrist. The Doctor, who was carrying illegally, returned fire. The cops remarked that he prevented additional casualties.

    The hospital is a GFZ but it is believed that no disciplinary action was taken against the doctor.

    It is precisely because of psych patients that permitted/2A-able persons should be carrying in hospitals.

    It seems terribly important to chip away at one GFZ after another until we have eliminated most of the nonsensical “special places” and are down to as small a number of debatable classes (such as court rooms and prisons).

    • IIRC it wasn’t illegal carry, it was just against policy of the hospital. Big difference.

      No disagreement with the rest though. I abhor that my current employer (a hospital) bars carry.

  3. Last year, Dr. Lee Silverman of the Mercy Wellness Center of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, PA, shot and killed a lunatic who had already murdered his caseworker and was about to add Dr. Silverman (and who knows how many others) to his body count.

    I guess that Captain Birbeck (rhymes with “horse’s ass”) would just as soon see Dr. Silverman and a whole pile of others dead.

  4. Why not do away with all gun free zones, if you have a permit, the gun is concealed, and you’re not in NY, NJ, or CA. This would include schools, courthouses, hospitals, but not airports inside of the security area.

    • We PotG need to become politically savvy.

      Let’s think about the reaction of the voter who hasn’t thought about the issue at all. We tell him that we want to eliminate EVERY GFZ. So, the guy thinks about it for a minute. He comes up with one case where he would object to eliminating the GFZ. Maybe its a court room; maybe its an airport. Doesn’t matter what it is. OK, so, now you have convinced him. You have argued to eliminate EVERY GFZ and he has identified one exception that he doesn’t think should be eliminated. He’s convince that your proposal is ill considered.

      Instead, what we ought to do is chip-away at GFZ beginning with the most absurd cases. Military bases and recruiting centers are (I think) the most absurd cases. It’s very unlikely that a voter we speak with is going to be immediately convinced that keeping military bases and recruiting centers GF is just an obviously rational idea. (Naturally, the Antis will think this way but we are wasting our breath on them.)

      Once we get our voter-audience to agree that the most absurd case is – indeed – absurd then we can get him on-board to support eliminating the most absurd case.

      Next, we pick the next remaining most-absurd case. Maybe that’s highway rest areas. (Maybe there is a better choice.) We get another law change and take up the next challenge.

      Obviously, our job becomes incrementally harder as we work our way half-way through the list. Should police stations be GFZ? A countervailing aspect of the discussion is that now we have people accustomed to seeing soldiers armed at recruiting centers and as they commute. We see tourists carrying guns in rest stops. The proposition of seeing citizens carrying their guns from the town-square into the police station doesn’t seem quite so novel; it seems somewhat more natural vs. unnatural.

      We may never get society to agree to make court rooms or airplanes GFZs notwithstanding the merits of doing so. Yet, the narrower the list of GFZ the greater the actual liberty of bearing arms. Achieving most of what we are after ought to be a higher priority than achieving perfection in one-fell-swoop.

      • I like this line of thinking. Also, we should have in our pockets one gun free zone that we would actually support. Perhaps it is a room in a hospital that has flammable or explosive canisters (oxygen, etc…) or possibly a lab that has live viruses. We keep that one in our back pocket to show that we are sensible.

        • Excellent train of thought; the one GFZ we support.

          I think the one I would use is rather obvious. Court rooms. OK, so, it’s a place most of us (apart from attorneys) don’t need to go to very often. My right to go-armed as I go about my normal affairs is seriously impinged when I can’t carry in the Post Office or my green-grocer’s store. It is NOT impinged at all by GF-court-rooms. If I contest a traffic ticket I’ll go to court unarmed that day.

          Court rooms are consistently guarded by at least one armed bailiff and are typically guarded by a few cops that are there to testify plus other cops coming and going on routine business at the court house. Typically, court houses are secured by metal detectors.

          There is a high propensity for some really pissed-off people to attend a court hearing; and, the outcome of the proceedings is apt to make them even more pissed-off.

          So, in my mind, if there is one throw-away “special place” to concede as an appropriate GFZ, this would be my choice.

          Your idea is correct. We should have one we are willing to concede. We should remain open to the arguments for a few more – but avoid being very specific about conceding to a second and a third. Rather, we should concentrate our efforts on reducing the GFZs that seem to be the most absurd.

          The tragic incidents in Chattanooga, invoking the memory of Ft. Hood, illustrate the “most absurd” point. Let’s face it: If we FAIL to persuade a super-majority of voters that recruiting centers and military bases are absurd places to designate Gun-FREE; then, we are hopelessly lost. We might as well give-up our whole defense of gun-rights.

          A salesman learns to find some way – any way – to get the prospect to “say yes” on something. If you can’t get this first “yes” then you aren’t going to get the prospect to buy anything. It very much looks like America is ready to insist that their Congressmen and Senators adopt some change-in-law to arm-up recruiting centers and military bases. The opposition arguments pale in absurdity as compared to the memory of that store-front with bullet holes surrounding the tiny “No guns” sign.

          We PotG have very poor instincts for the game of politics. We are our own worst enemies in tactically opposing our opposition. Look at all the commenters who argue that a business owner has a proprietary right to refuse to allow anyone on his property; including a person carrying a gun.

          I have a great deal of respect for the rights of a property owner to refuse to suffer the presence of anyone for reasons he may not even be able to articulate. However, our society has difficulty with the notion that a business owner’s proprietary rights run to the ability to discriminate against a CLASS of people. So, this “proprietary rights” position is politically a non-starter. No matter, many PotG adhere to this impolitic position even to the point of saying that proprietary rights trump everyone’s natural-right to self-defense. Why bother to even say such a thing out loud? Why shoot our own cause in the foot?

          It’s easy enough to mumble something about proprietary rights to refuse service to someone whose behavior is unacceptable; e.g., no shirt no shoes, no service. One could follow up by saying a range owner should certainly have the right to exclude a patron who doesn’t exhibit respect for range safety rules. Then, close with deep concern for the right-to-self-defense by vulnerable women with orders-of-protection in their purses.

          We need not assert that this woman – afraid for her life that her ex- is waiting for the moment she disarms – has a 2A right that trumps proprietary rights of businesses. All we need to do is say we are deeply concerned for her plight and her need to carry on the normal activities of her life (shopping at the green grocer’s) while bearing arms.

          Whatever it is that we say, we must be seen as sensible. We may be Right with God; but if our audience takes us as non-sensible then we don’t score any debating points. Winning isn’t everything; it’ the only thing.

  5. First of all, after the nation watched the fiasco that Texas made of passing common-sense open carry legislation, I don’t think Texas has quite the reputation Texas thinks it has.

    Second of all: the existence of a “gun free zone” didn’t prevent either of the two cases referenced, because 1) LEO are still armed (especially, I would assume, when escorting a prisoner), and b) criminals don’t follow laws or obey signs.

    • Except…..open carry passed. Legislation, like sausage making, may be unappetizing to watch, but open carry becoming law in Texas is not a “fiasco.”

      • Sure, but that “Texas reputation” is just silly. Many states have open carry and we didn’t have to pass shit to make it happen – it’s always been legal there. To say nothing of Constitutional Carry states.

      • And congratulations to Texas and Texans for that passage, truly. But if you think that the legislative sausage-making required for that passage didn’t enlighten people to the paper tiger that is the gun reputation of Texas, you’re deluding yourself.

        • Oddly, I’m OK with the protracted struggle for OC rights in TX. I’m also OK that it wasn’t a clean-sweep to Constitutional-Carry.

          Let’s imagine it had been a quick and easy passage. Imagine that 10 years ago a bill had been introduced in the TX legislature to adopt Constitutional Carry – and, that it passed on a resounding voice vote. Suppose the governor signed it without ceremony.

          In such an imaginary scenario, what would the American struggle for gun-rights have gained by such a resounding victory? If a shot is fired in a forrest that people heard but regarded as not worthy of note, does it have any effect?

          We know how the struggle actually unfolded. A determined minority rose-up in-arms and defied a foot-dragging political elite to achieve an asserted right that . . .

          Well, that what?

          A right that most Americans in the other 49 States simply presumed was the normal way of life in TX. They wrongly presumed this; but so they (very likely) thought. Had any “damned Yankee” strolled down the streets of TX while on vacation there would he have been shocked – SHOCKED! – to see a man in cowboy attire carrying a brace of revolvers on his belt? I doubt it.

          Much of the nation stood by and watched Texans standing up for rights these observers presumed they already had. And so, they were compelled by the spectacle to begin to think about what guns in polite society might really mean to them.

          Did the spectacle of OC in NM or AZ have equal impact? No, not at all. No one had occasion to think about it at all. Texas was a quintessential battleground to mark the outbreak of the struggle for recognition of gun-rights in polite society.

          Did every demonstration, parade, walk, lunch come down with perfect elegance and grace? No; what would you expect from any battlefield whether characterized by blood and tears or political fanfare? Very likely everyone who removes himself from a battlefield goes away with a peculiar take on the events absolutely unique from that of his fellow observers and participants. Such is life.

          My hope for the emergence of recognition of gun-rights is that intrepid Texans will open 2016 with a regular exercise of their OC liberty and will carry on in the years to come. That this practice of OC will normalize the experience of guns in polite society in TX such that visitors – who are numerous to TX – will return to their home States with a different perspective. I hope that the practice of OC spreads into bordering States until it creeps across the South, Midwest and Northwest. From there, I hope it creeps Eastward.

          I further hope that the struggle for gun-rights continues in TX – and that it be a very protracted struggle. First, to lower the barriers to securing a TX CWP. I want to hear a rising complaint from the poorer segments of the Texas population – especially Blacks and Hispanics. Lower the fees; lower the training requirements. Once these are achieved, I want to see TX go Constitutional Carry.

          No easy victories please! I want to see the People of Texas drag their political elites kicking and screaming to the admission of gun rights. It is only by way of a visible and audible struggle in Texas that the other States will wake-up and take notice.

    • It may have been different in the past but in my experience the “reputation” is claimed more by people that have never even been to Texas. Not just claimed, people outside of Texas are at least as responsible for perpetuating the nonsense.

      The reputation has more to do with the high number of guns here and our castle doctrine law. I am not claiming those are the highest or best in the US either but they are up there. I realize even stating that is good enough material to warrant slamming Texans as well so get on it.

      It is at least entertaining to be a Texan while trying to determine if it is the left or the right that holds the most contempt for the state and its citizens. The 2A is infringed in every single state. Every. Single. State. Even the ones that have constitutional carry. This includes one in particular that was just recently allowed to use suppressors that I have been using in Texas for a very long time.

      No, we don’t top the list for having the least infringements of the 2A. Happy now?

  6. WTF is a “Hospital ‘Gun-Free Zone'”? Even here in universal-background-check, standard-capacity-mag-ban Colorado, I can carry in hospitals (and bars, and government buildings, etc.).

    • What part of the state are you in?

      Our hospitals are uniformly posted with gun buster signs. Yeah, they don’t have force of law, until they trespass you.

      • Franktown. Douglas County.

        I’ve been to local hospitals (Parker Adventist, Sky Ridge) several times in the last few years, and don’t remember seeing any signs. Then again, maybe I’ve just ignored them. I have carried in every hospital I’ve visited, though.

    • Yes I always carry at St. John’s and Barnes… Honestly couldn’t tell you if they are posted or not because I don’t care.

      • Hmmm. Hospitals all have guards. These guards are supposed to be conscious of whether people are carrying in their space.
        Over time, these guards are going to develop a growing awareness of the fact that the GFZ is being defied with impunity. Once – in a given precinct – it’s pretty clear that the guards are aware of the open secret, let’s imagine that we make them acknowledge that it’s an open secret.

        Suppose we choose some gesture that means “I’m carrying”. For illustration, a gesture that looks like a tip-of-the-hat. So, suddenly, in this given precinct, all gun carriers that have occasion to go into hospitals in this precinct, make the gesture to each guard that then cross paths with. Just a friendly gesture – doesn’t mean anything. Except that it’s now a publicly-disclosed open secret. No one can pretend not to know any more.

        Now, what do the hospitals do about it? The practice has been occurring for years yet nothing was done. Now, it’s being almost – but not quite – defiantly defied. Knowledge leaks beyond the guards and administration to all the nurses and doctors and into the community at large. No one WANTS to do anything about it.

        Now, how do we take this “on the road” to business places, schools, highway rest stops, etc.?

        Business places are going to be hard to break-into using the same technique. Many don’t have security guards who can be manipulated into ignoring us. However, if nobody cares about carry in hospitals anymore, some of the “No Guns” signs will start to disappear. Eventually, we can go to the legislature in that State and get them to remove the penalty. If the store asks you to leave but you refuse you are treated as a trespasser. Now, we can carry without penalty so long as we don’t get caught; and, most businessmen won’t have any incentive to try to catch us.
        Once there is carrying going on in hospitals; down-town; and yes, even in Rick’s American Cafe! School administrations will start to consider arming teachers and other staff. After that happens, they will cease to be that concerned about the parents. The UPS drivers will be presumed to be carrying as well as all the other tradesmen who call on the school.

        First, we change the culture; eventually, the law will fall into place.

  7. TX Rep. Drew Springer’s bill isn’t making “its rounds in the Texas House of Representatives”. It died. He’ll have to file it again in 2 years.

  8. This article is late. Like, LATE late. The Texas legislative session ended June 1st…. over 6 weeks ago. HB 308 (the proposed legislation discussed here) died in the Texas House. Why is it being discussed now?

  9. “You have all these rules and you think they’ll save you.”

    When are the folks in charge of security at hospitals and other gun-free zones going to accept this?

  10. 2 thoughts on this.

    first is that the act of posesing a firearm should never have been a crime in the first place, there are PLENTY of laws on the books that punish brandishing and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

    second is that you will never meet a more desperate, warped minded person then a drug user who NEEDS his next fix.

  11. The best thing they could do is make sure there are veterans of the military on any flight and they are armed…..that would be the safest of all possibilities. You show your concealed carry permit and you show an ID from the VA with your picture on it along with a passport……bingo safe flight……place them in the front and rear and over the wings…..how safer can it get.?

    • Major Nidal Hassan (Ft Hood shooter) was active duty, an officer, and a shrink who could “pass” a pysch exam.

      How about we allow ALL Americans to exercise their rights?

      • OK lets do it. Let it be known that the whole territory of the contiguous United States is Constitutional carry. Any where any time.
        Then when someone is convicted for a serious crime of violence, especially using a gun and late he/she is stopped on the road by LEO and the LEO finds this person, “felon” with a gun again its a felon so off to jail another three to five. I’ve said that for fifty years.

  12. Straight from the Texas DPS website:

    (b) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder’s person:
    (1) on the premises of a business that has a permit or license issued under Chapter 25, 28, 32, 69, or 74, Alcoholic Beverage Code, if the business derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, as determined by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission under Section 104.06, Alcoholic Beverage Code;
    (2) on the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the license holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event;
    (3) on the premises of a correctional facility;
    (4) on the premises of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health
    and Safety Code, or on the premises of a nursing home licensed under Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, unless the license holder has written authorization of the hospital or nursing home administration, as appropriate; (5) in an amusement park; or
    (6) on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship.

    Then it goes on in section i to say:

    (i) Subsections (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6), and (c) do not apply if the actor was not given effective notice under Section 30.06.

    It looks pretty clear to me that an update to the law has been made that makes places like churches and hospitals just like any other establishment as far as the 30.06 law….

    So what am I missing here?

    • You’re not. We just need to get rid of 30.06 all together and the problem would solve itself.

    • You’re not missing anything. Hospitals originally were statutory gun-free zones, meaning guns were banned by law. Years later, the outright ban was lifted and permission to carry concealed was restored to the property owners, where it belongs. Hospitals electing to ban guns must post the 30.06 sign in accordance with the law, though.

      One caveat: a specific hospital might be a statutory gun free zone on some other basis. For example, some hospitals are extensions of a university campus. As such, carrying would be banned by law, regardless of signage.

  13. I, personally, believe that if a company, hospital, or business chooses to post a 30.06 sign, it should come with legal responsibility on their part. Are they held liable if something happens? I’m guessing not. There should be, absolutely, no place one cannot carry their weapon. I took the class! I had my background checked! I paid the exhorbitant fee to allow me my right! Why can’t the state, be a tad less restrictive? One story in this article totally blew the hospital police chief argument out. The fact that almost every single shooting occurs in a gun free zone, should tell you something. However, far be it from me, to introduce logic into the argument.

    • Careful there, you’re likely to hear from the “Muh property rights trumps your Constitutional rights” crowd. They don’t like it when they open a business to the public and somebody tells them they’re still not God. Some acknowledge the Bill of Rights doesn’t create rights, but instead restricts government infringement on rights. Many seem ok with infringing rights endowed by their creator because of “their property”; suggesting they should incur liability for denying a customer’s right to defense isn’t going to sit well.

  14. “They have a reputation to uphold”

    What reputation? Joining the open carry states way too late? Pretending to love liberty when the state is full of law-and-order fetishists who piss on the Constitution at every opportunity?

  15. Why is it the deaths they want to prevent by disarming law abiding citizens outweigh the potential deaths of law abiding citizens who were disarmed?

  16. Here in Oregon, a hospital is considered a “public place” and a “no guns” sign does not apply to a CHL holder. This is true even if the hospital is a part of the university system, as a CHL holder can carry there as well.

  17. With all of the recent hullabaloo about places of public accommodation being forced to serve people they don’t approve of, doesn’t this fall under the same category? Are we not being discriminated against? Is this not just another case of “We don’t want your kind here”?

  18. The right of private property is just as important as the right to bear arms. It should be up to the property owner to decide if arms are to be carried on that property. All government owned property should allow carry since that property is owned by the citizens.

    • Careful there, you’re likely to hear from the “Muh gun rights trumps your Constitutional rights” crowd.

      (Just satirizing Model 31 in reply to Justin, up above.)

      • Actually, it’s the SCOTUS-made-up “right of public accommodation” trumps your property rights at play.

        Without improper government interference, gun rights and property rights would co-exist, co-equally. A property owner could refuse service to anyone, and could ask anyone to leave the premises, for any reason – but could not demand that someone on his property disarm.

        But, since we’re decades removed from “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”, thanks to government interference, gun owners have every right to claim equal protection under the made-up “right of public accommodation”.

    • Why is the owner’s right to bar others from bearing arms on his property special?

      A property owner’s right to possess his property is otherwise compromised:
      – he must pay real-estate taxes;
      – he must submit to the eminent domain laws giving rights of way, easements, and even the entire property for “public use”;
      – he is not allowed to use his property to conduct unlawful activities (e.g., distillation of untaxed whiskey)
      – he is not allowed to pollute by dumping toxic chemicals into the streams or aquifers that cross his property
      – he is not allowed to discriminate in provisioning “public accommodations” based on race, religion, etc.

      You may very well hold that none of these encroachments is permissible under your ordering of property rights above all others. At an extreme, you might hold that if one man has a property right in a slave, that property right supersedes any rights of the slave to life or liberty. If you so held, then I could conclude that your views would be internally consistent.

      Yet, as soon as you admit of one encroachment – let’s say real estate taxes – then logically the door is open to other encroachments. And, this is the huge step our nation faced in the 1960’s Civil Rights era. Did the proprietary rights of a vendor of “public accommodations” trump the rights of Blacks to seek transportation, lodging or sustanance on a non-discriminatory basis? It was a genuinely tough decision to make socially; just as the decision to prohibit slavery was a tough decision for Northern States prior to the Civil War. And yet, in each case, that decision was made and the nation as a whole digested each such decision. How can we conclude today that each such decision was grievously wrong? The rights of Northern slaveholders trumped the right of liberty of their slaves. The right to reject the patronage of Blacks trumped their rights to travel and seek shelter and food. Let’s grant that in some cosmic sense you might be perfectly correct. Alas, we won’t have the opportunity to know this with any certainty until we each meet our maker and can know the truth as it has been revealed to you. In the interim, we must muddle along as best we can making the best judgements we can make as a polity based on our sentiments as to the meaning of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

      Today we stand facing the rights of a proprietor to exclude a prospective patron from his property vs. the rights of a vulnerable person to protect herself from the looming threat of a prospective real attack. The late case of Carol Browne of NJ is illustrative.

      The overwhelming majority of voters in NJ regard their right to “feel safe” from the likes of Carol Browne trumps her right to defend her life. None of us on this blog have anything but contempt for the political decision of this NJ polity.

      And yet, you appeal to our sense of right vs. wrong by asking us to hold sacred the rights of a green-grocer to exclude a gun-carrying woman from his premises while she is carrying an order-of-protection in her purse.

      I remain unpersuaded.

  19. You won’t like my real name either but there you go.

    Facebook hated it so much that even after I sent them photo ID they
    still have my account blocked.
    So they want to be jerks I decided to play their game.
    I made another account under a fictitious name. They seem to like it.

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