Rachel Malone (above) is a mover and shaker in the Lone Star State. The formerly unpaid gun rights lobbyist (and concert level pianist) recently became the Operations Director for the Republican Party of Texas (RPT). Last weekend, the Divine Ms. M invited me to address a small group of constitutional carry (CC) advocates at the RPT’s Austin HQ. My goal . . .

Help the advocates refine their message both inside and outside the Dome (state capital). It was a tough sell. When I asked the CC organizers to explain why they thought Texas should eliminate its current license to carry regime, they talked about their “rights.”

I put “rights” in scare quotes because it’s my considered opinion that most Americans don’t know how their government works — never mind what the Constitution is and how it works (scare quote that). And most politicians couldn’t give a sh*t.

After declaring myself a Second Amendment absolutist and affirming the rectitude and sanctity of their pro-2A arguments, I gave them my three talking points for Constitutional carry:

1. The Texas LTC regime is racist

The Texans who really need a gun to protect themselves, their loved ones and other innocent life are economically challenged, law-abiding citizens living in high crime neighborhoods. Many, if not most are people of color. They’re the the citizens who can least afford ANY licensing process.

Even with Texas’s new lower LTC fee, they still struggle to pay the cost of mandatory training and fingerprinting, on top of the price of the gun and ammunition. They can’t afford to take time out from work/looking after their family and pay for transportation to and from training and fingerprinting.

One of the participants in this CC chin wag was appalled. “I’ve spent forty years confronting Democrats who play the race card,” he said, “I’m not about to start now.” Oh well.

2. Constitutional Carry stops crime 

In his book More Guns, Less Crime, researcher John Lott proved what common sense suggests: the easier it is for citizens to exercise their guns right, the more legally armed Americans will carry a gun. The higher the percentage of legally armed Americans, the lower the crime rate.

Constitutional carry creates more law-abiding, legal gun carriers. Armed Americans are a deterrent. And they’re first responders — not the police, who get to a violent attack after it’s been committed.

I recommended that CC advocates avoid deep diving into stats. Opponents’ cries of “blood in the streets” may be without a factual basis, but once you start the “he said – she said” on crime stats, people’s eyes glaze over.

3. Constitutional Carry saves lives

Legally, it should take 60 days for a Texan to go through the LTC process. As the clock only starts when the government begins the paperwork, 90 days is the more common time frame. Delays of up to six months have been reported.

That’s a dangerous, maybe even a deadly delay for a Texan who recognizes a threat (e.g., experiences an attack) and wants to carry a gun. Which means the Texas LTC system is dangerous.

Again, I understand that the Texas — and any state’s — LTC permitting hurdles violate the United States Constitution’s prohibition against any government infringement on the right to keep and bear arms. But that argument is way too esoteric for low-information voters (i.e., the vast majority of them) and completely unimportant to vote-seeking politicians.

That’s my strategy for winning hearts and minds for Texas constitutional carry. Am I wrong?

55 Responses to Texas Constitutional Carry Talking Points

  1. “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

    — H. L. Mencken

    The left knows this and concentrates on winning “hearts,” not minds.

    Gun rights groups would be wise to steal a page from the enemy’s playbook. Win hearts. The mind of the average American isn’t worth the effort it would take to win it. If it was, gun control would already be a dead issue.

  2. “The Texas LTC regime is racist.”

    No. Just no. This is sloppy reasoning at best, and grandstanding at worst.

    For the system to be “racist,” it must be *intended* or designed to treat people of different races differently. There’s no evidence that current Texas LTC system was designed to do so.

    The fact that it may have a greater impact on the poor (and racial minorities are a disproportionate share of the poor) doesn’t prove that the system is “racist.” By the logic you are asserting, any government program that charges people money (e.g., car registration) is “racist.”

    Better argument: “the current system hurts the poor.”

    • How about the current Texas constitution regarding firearms is racist? Seeing as how it was put in place as part of a post-civil war “Jim Crow” wave that swept the south, I would consider it a valid point. Given that the current system is also anti-poor (by design…what else explains the previously exhorbitant fees?) I don’t see why you can’t use both arguments at the same time.

      • I think the Jim Crow argument might have a powerful effect. It’s sort of like the Christian doctrine of “original sin”.

        So, we have this law X that we don’t like. Why was law X passed? Why, it was passed at a time when its advocates unabashedly proclaimed its reasoning Y. Now, a couple of generations later, Y is a politically-incorrect justification! Y taints X; from which X can NEVER wash-its-hands.

        Intellectual integrity (i.e., political-correctness) compels us to resurrect this horrible sin Y for passing law X. Until we admit the original sin (Y) we will never come to grips with X.

        The Anti’s will have trouble with this line of reasoning (i.e., emotion-packed appeal). They don’t hesitate to condemn America for its original sin of sanctioning slavery in the Constitution. Do they believe in the original sin of slavery? If they do, they must acknowledge the original sin of Jim Crow gun-control laws. The 14A was intended to emancipate freedmen from gun-control; but, the end of Reconstruction reinstated the Democrat policy of No Guns for Negros.

        • Emotional arguments only count when it’s THEIR emotions being expressed.
          Just ask them to consider your emotions if you don’t believe me.

      • Re: discriminatory vs. racist. If you mean the same thing you might as well go with the more emotionally loaded term as long as you are not lying. If Trump has taught us anything it’s high energy rhetoric beats low energy dialectic. Your ideological opponents will howl “incivility” but you will get more attention.

        • Racism is defined as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” If racism is (1) discrimination (2) based on the belief of racial superiority/inferiority, then discrimination is not, by definition, racist.

          Perhaps that I should have used prejudicial instead of discriminatory as it is closer to meaning I was going for. That meaning is that the law has a larger impact on the poor and minorities (because there are proportionally more poor minorities). Not that the intent of the law is to harm the poor and minorities. However, if you know that a law will have such an impact, and you still support that law, especially if claim to be a champion of minorities/the poor, it is legitimate to question your motivations.

        • I get your point and if this was court case argument dependant on precise definitions you could probably use logic to shoot down “The Texas LTC regime is racist” argument because no one can prove intent of the legislators. But did this help Hilary Clinton after Comey made a long argument about the precise meaning of the document handling laws and how criminal intent wasn’t there? Voters instead were persuaded by Trump’s “Crooked Hilary” and “Honestly, she should be locked up.” As a non-lawyer, regular dude when I hear the term racist I immediately think “something against black or brown people.” When I hear discrimination, I think “something against black or brown people, maybe against women.” When I hear prejudicial I think “fancy way of saying something against black or brown people.” 😛 The core argument is that LTC fees make it harder for good hardworking black and brown people to carry guns and protect themselves from vicious thugs. To a regular guy on the street that’s racism straight up. If your opponent has to make a long winded argument about why it’s not that simple you have already won the rhetorical battle.

        • The original objection is that the system isn’t racist because there is no intent, and that calling it racist is “sloppy reasoning at best, and grandstanding at worst.” If LKB is not willing to say racist for reasons of intellectual integrity, then a more accurate word like prejudicial should be perfectly acceptable. If the average Joe takes that to mean racist, the fault is his, not LKB’s.

          “The core argument is that LTC fees make it harder for good hardworking black and brown people to carry guns legally. To a regular guy on the street that’s racisim straight up.” The problem is that the left and their MSM allies have changed the meaning of words. Racism is a belief in inherent racial superiority. Discriminatory is, at worst, a word that encompasses all forms of bigotry, and at best means good taste. Prejudice, in this context just means harmful. If the word harmful comes to mean racist, we’re all fucked because language will be useless.

    • You are correct but Robert is not incorrect. When trying sway to opinion Robert’s rhetorical argument is much more effective because it engages emotions and is thus more politically persuasive. Hurts the poor is a good argument too but its not as personal.

      • If you are arguing with a leftist on the issue, just ask them to define racist and use that definition. Then your logic will be solid. One of your premises won’t be, but that’s ok because it’s really their premise and not yours.

      • I demur. Crying “wolf” is an effective way to get attention — until people just tune it out because there isn’t one. Then when there really *is* a wolf . . . .

        The claim of racism needs to be reserved for things that truly ARE racist. Using it because it is politically expedient — which the left has been doing for a while — dilutes the charge, and in the long run makes it ineffective.

        The “may issue” system in many California counties — where only a handful of politically-connected folks (almost all of whom are white) get permits might be attacked on this basis, as it does involve the discretion of an individual. But a “must issue” system can’t seriously be called racist without redefining what the term means.

        • I agree with your distinction between May-/Shall-Issue. We need not argue the purity of virtue of Con-Carry; it is sufficient to argue that Shall-Issue is our incremental goal.

          Then, next, we argue that the fee ought to be no more than that necessary to recover the cost of a NICS check and issuance. PA gets the job done for $21; why should any other State charge more? Furthermore, we should argue that anyone on public benefits, Social Security, military service should get a waiver of the fee; the rest of us will pay $31 or $41 to make the program break-even.

          The really big obstacle is the training requirement. This is analogous to a “poll tax” in the form of a “literacy test”. Naturally, we are all in favor of training; the more the better. But, States shouldn’t be allowed to create a monopoly of “certified” trainers who can charge a fee for what could be learned for free or very cheaply. Almost everyone who is economically challenged could find a Vet to teach him gun safety and the manual-of-arms for her gun. Let’s substitute a written test (much like a written test for a driver’s license) together with a sign-off by an NRA RSO as an economical alternative to a formal training program.

          Our challenge is to find a rhetorical position to take by which we engage the Anti’s. A step-in-the-right-direction toward honoring the Right-to- – Bear-Arms is: Shall-Issue; Nominal-/No-Fee for the poor; testing in lieu of training. Call upon the Anti’s to defend: May-Issue; high-fees; expensive-training.

          We need-not concede that a permit scheme is necessarily Constitutional; only that it is less-UN-Constitutional than May-Issue/high-fees and training.

        • Absolutely right, LKB. The past ten years or so have diluted the word “racist” to near-meaninglessness. Any disagreement, no matter how minor or on what topic, with Progressive doctrine gets you labeled as a racist misogynist now, so it’s not the emotionally-laden debate-ending nuclear bomb it used to be. Large swaths of the population have started to tune out that word, because it’s been overused to the point of ridiculousness. Because of that, using it in this context is likely to actually be less effective than arguing that it disproportionately affects poor people.

    • Various courts have opined that requiring a photo ID to register as a voter is “racist” for the very same reasons mentioned by R.F. here.

      So, even though you are correct that nominal fees are not inherently racist, we have nothing to lose by using the liberal judges’ words against them. In fact, I think we owe it to the liberals in this country to throw their convoluted logic back in their faces.

      • “Various courts have opined that requiring a photo ID to register as a voter is “racist” for the very same reasons mentioned by R.F. here.” Technically, the courts have ruled that the laws have a disparate impact on minorities for the same reasons mentioned by R.F. The voting rights act statute basically says that disparate impact is illegal. It’s more complicated, but I’m not wading into the weeds on this tangential issue.

    • There may well be better ways to frame this argument, but dismissing the racist label approach with a fkat “No. Just no” is facile. It ignores the judicial realities of civil rights legislation.

      For example, under some civil rights laws, plaintiffs can prevail even without evidence of a specific discriminatory intention, provided they can show a disparate impact on the affected group. That’s what happened in Texas v. Inclusive Communities Project. You’ll find that magic phrase “disparate impact” used to infer institutional racism in many cases. You’ll find it as well in claims of discrimination on every other legally protected premise, too: age, religion, gender, etc.

      I get your point, intent is different from outcome. I’m just saying that’s not how the courts see it. You can argue all day that it shouldn’t be thus, but that’s a different topic from what is before us here.

      • Not quite. Disparate impact analysis can, under some circumstances, constitute indirect evidence that the law or practice is in fact has an illegal intent. (That’s how the recent Texas Voting Rights Act case turned out.). But disparate impact, standing alone and controverted by evidence that the law in fact had no such illegal intent isn’t going to carry the day in most courts.

        More importantly is the point I make above: that once you start calling everything “racist” (whether it is or not) because it’s a politically expedient way to get what you want, you are ultimately going to weaken the impact of that charge. “If everything I do I going to be called racist, then why should I care?” is where you wind up.

        I just do not believe that it is either effective policy or a wise political strategy to take this kind of lazy shortcut. If you have a bigoted LEO in NJ who just happens to always deny permit applications by minority constituents while giving them out to similarly situated white guys (which of course is how most gun control originally operated in this country), then a charge of racism (more properly, racial discrimination) may well be appropriate. But calling everything “racist” — even things that are objectively color blind– to score political points is incorrect.

        • You’re just making things up to avoid explicitly stating the essence of your rebuttal, which is nothing more substantive than “Nuh uh!” The fact us that while it is a little more complex than just a disparate impact (e.g., you must articulate a specific policy/practice that drives the impact, you must have the statistical analysis to back it up, etc.), fundamentally it comes down to numbers. The 80% rule is very common in these cases. A defendant can make a lot of noise about how non-racist or not whatever other “-ist” they’re accused of being, but ultimately disparate impact is dispositive. That’s what it goes by because that’s tangible. What’s in someone’s heart is intangible.

        • Making it up? Hardly. See Kamps v. Baylor University, No. 14-50050 (5th Cir. 2014). Absent the oddball statute like the ADA that specifically allows for claims that have a disparate impact, discrimination claims cannot be based on disparate impact alone. You want to cite a Court of Appeals level case to the contrary?

          Indeed, you’re ducking the real question: is it proper to cry “racist” — even when the policy isn’t — just because it’ll score political points? I say it is not. Do you disagree?

    • The intent of a law is largely irrelevant with regards to civil rights. The established legal standard for evaluating a statute under the civil rights act of 1964 states regardless of a laws intent or constitutionality on its face if it disproportionately impacts one or more protected classes negatively it’s is unconstitutional. This prevents poorly written laws or sloppily implemented laws from having unintended discriminatory effects. This standard should be applied in the courts to all gun control legislation from ccw to the nfa. Remeber for almost 100 years Dixiecrats and big city liberals marginalized blacks, hispanics, Chinese and for some time Jews Irish and Italians all the while telling them they were representing their best interests. Defense of self from criminal elements and tyranny is a basic human rights that should be defended jealously for all Americans.

      • I disagree. While Title VII of the ’64 Civil Rights Act (employment discrimination) has been interpreted to extend to disparate impact claims, Title VI (discrimination WRT gov’t programs, which is closest to what we’re talking about here) does requires intent, and disparate impact alone won’t suffice to prove a violation. See the Fifth Circuit’s Kamps v. Baylor University case, cited above.

      • To be clear, I only disagree with your interpretation of the ’64 Act. I agree that calling out the truly racist history of gun control laws is not only proper but wise.

        Having said that, just because many gun control laws in the past were past / carried out for intentionally discriminatory reasons does not mean that all present laws (such as the Texas LTC system) suffer from that same infirmity.

  3. The most resonant part of your presentation was the comments about how licensing and training fees and processing delays are essentially racist (a term I don’t use lightly). It is law-abiding poor people who are the most vulnerable and most preyed upon by things. Gun controllers are perfectly happy about keeping guns away from poor people, black or otherwise. In this, they perfectly align themselves with decades racist white politicians who worked hard at keeping guns away from the very people they most sought to oppress. That’s an albatross that should hang around their necks and not ours.

  4. It good that we have some strong advocates in Party HQ now. Kudos to Ms. Malone and it’s cool she invited you the speak. I think your point 1 is the strongest point. Minority groups clamoring for gun rights would put pressure on Democrats, who are the ones most opposed to CC. If you want to beat a political opponent, you have have to undermine or co-op their base of support. The guy you described voicing his moral outrage sounds like someone used to gracefully losing for 40 years, LOL.

    • “‘I’ve spent forty years confronting Democrats who play the race card,’ he said, ‘I’m not about to start now.'”

      The response to this, is that he should get ready to lose. Dirty pool is how to win in politics. If you don’t have the stomach for dirty pool, then get out of politics. Romney lost against Obama because he wouldn’t go on the attack. Americans don’t like negative campaign adds, but they sure as hell respond to them.

      And you don’t have to call the system racist. You can just say that it has a greater impact on poor minorities than affluent whites. That’s still playing the race card, but you’re not calling anyone racist. If you’re still uncomfortable, then you can just go with poor and leave off the minorities part. If you have a problem with that, then you need to explain that to me.

  5. There is no requirement for a Texan to own a car, so how can the car registration program hurt the poor? A firearm could more important to have than an automobile for anyone, so maybe the current system should not cost for the people that make only so much money a year, or they could pay with any refund they may get. I would support that before I would free cellphones or subsidised car registration.
    Public transportation is already subsidised and should be at lower cost to the poor with an ID card and transit card. Allowing them access to the public transit system so they can do thier chores is a good thing, that way they can get where they are suppossed to be and not be caught in a loop.

    • Nothing’s free when the government gives you something YOU HAVE TO HAVE.

      If it’s free to you, WTF did it cost everyone else.

  6. Ms. Malone “recently became the Operations Director for the Republican Party of Texas (RPT).”

    I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I like people who are passionate about 2A issues being on the inside. On the other hand, I worry that the point might have been to remove an effective 2A grassroots lobbyist. The thing Republicans are most vulnerable to in Texas is a primary challenge from the right. The only time I ever had a politician knock on my door looking for votes was when he was running against a Tea Party candidate in the primary.

  7. Rub, then fing pound, home the notion that all the MF’s in your government (at whatever level, and in WHATEVER OTHER MF PLACE ON THIS PLANET THAT YOU HAPPEN TO FIND THEM) are PEOPLE.

    Those people just your stupid ahole neighbors who needed a job. We elect them, or their appointers, to GOVERN GOVERNMENT, AND TO BE A FOOT SNARE FOR THE ASSHOLES ELECTED BY OTHERS. THEY ARE NOT THERE TO LEAD US.

    “GUN LAWS” MEAN THAT THOSE STUPID NEIGHBORS DON’T TRUST YOU, BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT THEY ARE AFFECTUAL ON.

    Tell your stupid neighbors who needed a job to stop lording themselves over you or you’re going to tell them to pack their sh_t and go to the house.

    • . . .Making them might take arms, some of the ‘arms’ might be ‘guns’, and that is PROVIDED FOR in the 2nd Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.

  8. I totally agree. Gun control is still racist. The white homosexuals who are proudly in power in California like Tom Ammiano, wrote the law making rape and stalking victims wait up to an extra 10 days to get a hans gun in California.

    Or the billionaire Michael Bloomberg who is Jewish said in Aspen Colorado blacks should be disarmed for their own good.

    Yes the anti-gun crowd is totally racist.

    • There are several steps missing in your gun grabbers are racist argument. I’m not sold on the notion that they are racist. I’m sold on the notion that most gun control in America is of racist origin. It just expanded from blacks to everyone. I’m sold on the notion that the gun grabbers are tyrannical/fascist.

      • I have encountered many racists who have gay sex. As well as racist Jewish people. The idea that a racist is a “straight Christian” is just socialist progressive propaganda.

        The reason why these repugnant people get into office is because people look they other way when the racist is from their own group.
        The hiring practices of these groups are not different than those in the south sixty years ago.
        San Francisco has had lawsuits against white gay men who only hired other white gay men. Hispanics have been sued for hiring only Spanish speakers. TTAG has already discussed the racially motivated gun permit system and in Chicago and Los Angeles.

        But the very interesting “Jewish only” gun permit scandal in New York City is not getting much media attention. You have to lesson to Glen Herman at “New York City Guns Radio podcast” to find out about the $18,000 gun permits.

        I sure I just scared some people saying this.

        • Ok, a lot of gays, Hispanics, and Jews are bigots. And the gun permitting people in Chicago and Los Angeles are racist misogynists. And the New Yorkers are racist in favor of Jews. What’s that got to do with gun control in general, and specifically in Texas. Can you show that Bloomberg is specifically trying to deny guns to blacks, or is he trying to deny guns to everyone?

          I’m not saying your conclusion is wrong or even unfounded. I’m saying your argument is shit, and your haphazard throwing Jew and homosexual into the mix makes you sound like the bigot. If you do drop ethnicity or sexual orientation into the argument, you need to lay the steps out so as to only look like a bigot to the people who think any criticism of any minority is bigoted (they’re all ignorant assholes anyway).

        • Its up setting racist gays or jews being called racist. I know.
          To your point about Texas. The Black Panther Party has been making rude nasty and racist statements while carrying guns. I have read on TTAG and other media sites of people being very upset.

          I suggest you work to make sure constitutional carry passes in Texas. That way the law abiding rude and nasty Black Panther Party has guns just like the rude and nasty but law abiding liberal whites, that don’t like being labeled.

          And the people who really need guns, law abiding poor people living in the bad parts of cities can have guns. That would be the moral thing to do. And stop smearing Hi Point owners since thats all they can afford. That makes anyone look like bigots also.
          Since racist tax laws were past to make guns more expensive for primarily poor black people. As always if a few poor whites were caught up in these laws, the wealthy didn’t care.

      • TX lawyer
        This rich white Jewish man with a dozen armed body guards, says victims should be disarmed. He did not misspeak. He has slipped into an honest moment. Normally he is a liar.

        How about the Jewish mayor with body guards end city government welfare in New York City and stop interfering in the formation of black families???? But that never happened.
        But he does support gay marriage. Homosexuals really support gay marriage but they also really support the Welfare Industrial complex. Both groups are very comfortable with law abiding blacks not having guns. You don’t get to use your minority status to take civil-rights away. These homosexuals and Jews totally support racist gun control.

        Listen: Audio of Bloomberg’s Minorities and Gun Control Remarks from Aspen

        http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/02/16/listen-audio-of-bloombergs-minorities-and-gun-control-remarks-from-aspen/

        Michael Bloomberg suggests disarming minorities to ‘keep them alive’

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/8/sughed-michael-bloomberg-suggests-disarming-minori/

        • Premise 1: Bloomberg supports things that hurt people, especially the poor.
          Premise 2: Gays support things that hurt people, especially the poor.
          Premise 3: Blacks are people, some percentage of whom are poor.
          Premise 4: Bloomberg is a Jew.
          Premises 5-n: ?
          Conclusion: Bloomberg and gays are racists!

          I agree with premises 1-4, except I’d say 2 should be most gays. I’d even agree that most Jews support leftist policies (things that hurt people, especially the poor). Premises 5-n is where you are in underpants gnome logic territory.

      • TX lawyer
        Your knee jerk reaction surprises me. This conversation was about Bloomberg. I’m talking about people in positions of power who have demonstrated through conscious acts trying to take away the civil rights of law abiding citizens. The fact that these gun grabbers are in a “minority status” seems to soften YOUR position.

        I treat those who want my Arms, just like those who have wanted them historically. The progressive socialist and the KKK. In today’s world they just dress different and they talk smoother.

        • I agree that they’re evil bastards who should burn with the rest of them. I’m saying your argument that they are racists is lacking.

          “I treat those who want my Arms, just like those who have wanted them historically. The progressive socialist and the KKK. In today’s world they just dress different and they talk smoother.” This is a much better argument. “The history of gun control is largely, if not entirely, racist. I don’t have the time or ability to investigate and determine the motivations of every gun control proponent, so I will assume they are racist until they prove my assumption wrong.” That’s a fine and reasonable position. I don’t hold that position. I think they hold all people not them in disdain equally.

          My problem is that the minority status of the person is irrelevant. I could make a similar argument to the argument that you often make about gays and Jews about Blacks. Most Blacks are for gun control (or at least the pro gun control politicians). This policy disproportionately hurts (insert one of several groups). Blacks are bigoted against said group.

          “The white homosexuals … Michael Bloomberg who is Jewish … .” – So black homosexuals are against gun control? Why does it matter that Bloomberg is Jewish? I don’t disagree that he’s a paternalistic schmuck.

  9. The really important objective today is breaking into the Won’t-Issue States. Bear in mind that these are the high-density population States with lots of Representatives and lots of Electoral Collage votes. As long as voters in these States remain hoplophobes the 2A remains under threat. The few gun-owners in these States can’t change their local politics. WE, in the Right-to-Carry States must impose the 2A upon them.

    After 10 or 20 years of Right-to-Carry in these last 10 (or so) States, guns won’t be so scary a proposition. If WE do nothing to free these States we will remain a “house-divided” on the 2A. That is too great a risk to tolerate.

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