Usually, anti-gun activists oppose Right to Carry laws because those laws focus the public`s attention upon the right of self-defense and the benefits of firearms ownership by law-abiding citizens. But now the laws are being attacked in hopes of generating unfounded public fear and boosting Al Gore`s election chances against Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
The Los Angeles Times chose October 3, the date of the first Bush-Gore presidential debate, to publish a 5,000-word harangue against Texas` carry law--none of the other 30 "shall issue" Right to Carry states or 12 "discretionary-issue" states were attacked. Far beneath the "Felons Get Concealed Gun Licenses Under Bush`s `Tough` Law," headline was the admission that upon receiving out-of-state criminal record information, Texas revoked the permits of the previously-convicted individuals (not one recipient committed a violent crime while having a permit). Buried too was the fact that records upgrades now allow thorough applicant checks to be conducted within 24 hours. The Times also ignored the following:
After 4 years under the Texas law, 99.5% of permitees remain in good standing. Texas` carry law took effect Jan. 1, 1996, and as of Sept. 1, 2000, there were 215,003 active firearm carrying permits in Texas. Only 0.5% of permits have been revoked for any reason, and Texas revokes permits for a variety of reasons including misdemeanor violations that have nothing to do with firearm possession or use. Two permitees have been convicted of murder, but there is no evidence that permits played a role in the crimes.
(See Texas Crime Records Service Concealed Handgun Licensing Section)
George W. Bush has made Texas "safer." Gov. Bush vowed that Texas` Right to Carry law would make the state a "safer place," and statistics prove he was right. Texas` homicide rate has declined to its lowest point since the 1950s and has decreased a startling 60% from the high under his predecessor. Murder rates in Texas fell by 25% between 1995 and 1997, much faster than the 16% decline in states without "shall-issue" laws. Overall, Texas` total violent crime rate has dropped 20% under Gov. Bush and is lower than at any time since 1974.
"Gun crime means hard time. No probation. No parole." That`s the motto of Texas Exile, a year-old program under which nearly 1,000 convicted criminals have been charged for illegal gun possession. Texas Exile was established under a grant approved by Gov. Bush.
Al Gore lies about Texas Right to Carry law, claiming "Bush signed . . . legislation that made it easier to carry these weapons in churches. . . ."
The truth is that permit holders are forbidden to carry guns in churches. The 1997 law Gov. Bush signed created a uniform, clearly-identifiable warning sign requirement for permit holders for all public-access buildings.
After Texas` carry law took effect in 1996, owners of public buildings had the right to post signs stating that concealed handguns were not allowed on their property. Churches were exempt from this warning requirement, because concealed handguns were never permitted in churches.
Recognizing that it is not always obvious which buildings are church property, the 1997 law explicitly made the rule the same for all public buildings. In debating the 1997 modification, the Texas Legislature considered two additional issues--fairly warning permitees before they enter buildings where guns were prohibited and simplifying prosecution of anyone who knowingly violated the law.
America`s police groups endorse Gov. Bush for President. In September, Gov. Bush received the endorsement of the 290,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP stated that Gov. Bush "has demonstrated integrity, sincerity, and a genuine commitment to the rule of law. . . . In Texas, Governor Bush has made combating crime a top priority. He pushed through tough criminal justice reforms and, as a result, overall crime in Texas decreased 14%, violent crime decreased 20%, and juvenile crime is down 17%--the first decline in over a decade. Violent juvenile crime is down 44%! . . . The Fraternal Order of Police strongly believes that Governor Bush`s genuine commitment to law enforcement and his crime-fighting record in Texas make him the best candidate for America`s police officers."
(See BUSH WINS F.O.P. ENDORSEMENT)
Gov. Bush has also been endorsed by the 65,000-member Law Enforcement Alliance of America. "Like the FOP membership, our organization chose to ignore the false promises of the Gore campaign in support of Bush because cops know that actions speak louder than words and Gov. Bush has a proven track record of standing up for law enforcement and supporting tough on crime legislation," said LEAA President John Chapman.
The 31 states with "shall issue" carry laws have lower average violent crime rates than states that severely restrict or prohibit the carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens. Professor John R. Lott, Jr.`s exhaustive study of crime trends in every county in the country demonstrates that Right to Carry laws cause violent crime to decrease.
In all states with Right to Carry laws, people who are issued carry permits are statistically more law-abiding than the general public. As a result, Right to Carry laws are widely supported by lawmakers and law enforcement groups in those states.
The law enforcement view is expressed well by Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association. White originally opposed Right To Carry in Texas, but he changed his mind once evidence of the law`s success became available. "All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn`t happen. . . . I think it`s worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I`m a convert." It also says good things about leaders such as George W. Bush.