We’ve seen no end of public officials opining on the importance of limiting the Second Amendment rights of Americans in the aftermath of spree shootings in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas. But in this case, the public official in question is Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo, an appointee who’s gone out of his way to make his anti-gun agenda known. A quick search of his history on gun rights — or, more accurately, his desire to see them restricted — takes you back to his time as the Austin Police Chief.
I remember vividly when he first talked about restricting people’s guns right and thinking to myself, why would someone in his position make those comments? Why would someone whose job is to uphold the law feel it’s in his job description to advocate for the infringement of the civil liberties of those who live in his town?
I heard his comments then and I’m hearing more of the same now. A leopard really can’t change his anti-gun spots. In this case, the pattern of those spots shows that the Chief doesn’t believe that the citizenry is responsible enough to own, let alone carry firearms. Rhetoric such as his says to the majority we need the government, and in this case the Chief, to step in and help us manage our lives.
Just Be Professional
As a civil servant who’s in charge of public safety, I don’t need to be lectured on his personal views of my civil rights. There’s a fine line between being professional and pushing your own personal agenda.
And if you are going to speak out as Chief Acevedo has, at least have the decency to be transparent about your motives. When you do so at the helm of a big city police department, it implies you have the support and permission of the department to speak on their behalf.
Calling a Spade a Spade
Since the Santa Fe shooting Chief Acevedo’s message has taken on an even sharper tone. Are there gun owners who are negligent? Of course. But should the shortcomings of the few outweigh the rights of the many? No. That’s something we can never allow.
Like I was saying, blah, blah, blah. Stop misrepresenting &/or lying about my views. Your action is leading to harassment by your minions. You may just make testing the limits of your dishonesty & cyber bullying worthwhile in Court. Many top-notch firms would do so pro-bono. pic.twitter.com/KirUT42u5P
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) May 23, 2018
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch asked Acevedo to appear on her show to have a conversation on the subject. The anti-gun side always claims they want to have a civilized conversation about “gun violence.”
Besides, it’s important that they be given an opportunity to be honest in public, to go on record. Let the public know exactly what they think and would like to happen if they got their way…then vote accordingly.
Lastly, I will not respond any further to you on any platform outside of a legal process. Be on notice that we will be watching and will do our talking in a court of Law if the need arises. Good day. https://t.co/xGKhMfaDqq
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) May 23, 2018
But after Acevedo refused to appear, the back and forth between them on Twitter devolved into Acevedo threatening Loesch with legal action and promising to have her watched. Quite an example.
It’s Not About the Guns
The bottom line is Chief Acevedo has no business using his department’s good name to further his own personal political agenda, let alone to threaten those who question his views. When he wears a uniform, stands in front of cameras wearing the uniform and pontificates, it’s implied that he’s speaking on behalf of the department he represents.
Let’s be clear, laws against almost everything the recent spree shooters did already exist. Enacting more of them — something that would only affect law-abiding gun owners — would not have prevented these horrific acts. Not even revoking an entire nation’s civil liberties would have prevented them. But that’s not really what’s important to Chief Acevedo. For him, it’s not about the guns. It’s about control.
Until we’re ready to have a serious conversation about how to make schools more secure and students safer, I see Chief Acevedo’s pronouncements for what they are…advocacy for gun confiscation. We need real leaders who are willing to talk about real issues such as social decay, mental health and the failures of our public schools. Somehow I don’t expect to hear the Chief address any of those topics.
Jeff Gonzales is a former US. Navy SEAL and preeminent weapons and tactics instructor. He brings his Naval Special Warfare mindset, operational success and lessons learned unapologetically to the world at large. Currently he is the Director of Training at The Range at Austin. Learn more about his passion and what he does at therangeuastin.com.