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?