Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 40 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Art Acevedo Is At His Gun Control Ways Yet Again

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

Breitbart:

His comments are in reference to legislation which would allow Texans to carry a handgun open or concealed without a permit for one week after a natural disaster is declared in the state. The Dallas Morning News reports that the legislation was passed by state lawmakers and is now sitting on Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk.

Texas already allows the carry of long guns without a permit. This means a Texas resident not barred from gun possession can legally carry an a lever action rifle, an AR-15, a pump shotgun, etc., without any permit in places where firearms are no prohibited. But handgun owners are required to have a permit for open or concealed carry. State Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) is pushing for the week-long, post-natural disaster carry period for handguns so Texans under duress can carry a gun for protection, regardless of whether they have a permit.

Acevedo said, “We experienced one of the worst disasters in Texas history during Harvey. The World watched as we all came together. This bill wasn’t needed then & isn’t needed now. This will embolden 20,000+ gang members & will not help LE. Let’s hope it isn’t signed.”

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.  There’ll be blood running in the streets.  Oh the humanity.”

He Art, why don’t you go shut down those 20,000+ gang members rather than spending your time on failed SWAT raids on innocent people?

Texas Lawmakers Approve Safe Gun Storage Program

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

And brace yourselves for the surprise culprits.

Lawmakers in gun-loving Texas have quietly gone around the National Rifle Assn. by slipping language into a massive spending bill that would fund a $1-million public safety campaign on gun storage.

The last-minute move late Sunday sets up a political test rarely seen in Texas for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who must decide whether to veto the spending or to ignore NRA opposition and approve the program.

[ … ]

The campaign for safe home gun storage is a small item in the two-year, $250-billion state budget, and it was fiercely opposed by the NRA and gun-rights activists. The measure failed to get a vote and appeared all but dead weeks ago.

Then budget negotiators — the majority of whom are Republicans — added the funding into a budget bill. The legislation was approved Sunday night by the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Republicans.  As soon as you turn your head, they’re at it again.  The problem I have with “education” programs of this sort is the same as I have with any governmental education program.  I oppose funded, taxed, mandatory education whether at the federal, state or local level.  In fact, I argue that the veritable existence of the Department of Education is unconstitutional.

But if this passes it’s the first foot in the door.  The controllers then have an excuse to say, “See, we tried to help you by educating you.  You just wouldn’t learn, would you?”  Then, on to the more draconian controls they always wanted in the first place.

Gun Showdown In The Texas House

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 2 weeks ago

Star-Telegram:

House Speaker Dennis Bonnen wants to make one thing perfectly clear.

Gun rights are safe and sound this session, despite some grumbling from grassroots activists.

“I’ll bet my critics an AR-15 that their gun rights won’t be infringed,” he posted recently on Facebook.

This comes after some Texans began criticizing the Angleton Republican for “betraying” efforts to pass more legislation.

“For the first time in decades, a Speaker has appointed anti-gun Democrats to chair the two most important House Committees for Texas gun owners,” according to an article by The Texas Firearms Coalition.

At issue: state Rep. Poncho Nevarez, D-Eagle Pass, who was named to head the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, and state Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth, who was appointed to head the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

“It has come to my attention that a small handful of gun rights fringe groups have called my leadership into question. Let me set the record straight,” Bonnen wrote on Facebook. “For 22 years I have been an advocate for Texan’s 2nd Amendment Rights.

“I have not wavered at any point.”

Collier received an F rating last year from the National Riffle Association.

“I’m here to promote the legislative process,” she said Tuesday. “Speaker Bonnen has set the tone for the new session and has expressed his trust and confidence in his colleagues in the House.”

Nevarez received a D rating from the NRA.

In 2015, Nevarez became the center of media attention after open carry supporters had a heated exchange with him.

Kory Watkins, then a spokesman for Tarrant County Open Carry, posted a video online that showed open carry advocates being aggressive with Nevarez, telling him he “won’t be here very long, bro,” because he didn’t support open carry.

The House soon approved new rules letting lawmakers put panic buttons in their offices that would summon Texas Department of Public Safety troopers if they needed to remove people from their offices.

The fear this session is that anti-gun bills in the House will get hearings but “pro-gun bills either will not get a hearing or won’t get a committee vote in time to reach the House floor for debate and voting,” the Firearms Coalition article stated.

It went on to encourage Texas gun owners to reach out to top Texas Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, to weigh in on “Bonnen’s betrayal.”

“The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make the political price of betrayal so high that no elected official can afford it,” according to the article.

Bonnen responded to the concerns on social media. He said his committee appointments “represent diverse views — just as any well functioning democracy should.”

But he said he also named a majority of pro-gun members to committees that will consider gun legislation.

“The fact that some fringe groups can’t count to 5 for a 9 member committee is really not my problem,” he wrote.

And he believes committee chairs will “allow reasonable bills which reflect the values of Texans” to make their way through the session.

“I have not wavered at any point.”  I agree.  You appointed full-on communists to posts of importance.  There was no vacillation with you.

The notion that the Texas Firearms Coalition is a “fringe” group is patently absurd, and I predict he’ll pay a steep price for his treasonous behavior.

By saying that “reasonable bills” will make their way through session he means that the committees will hear them, stall, vote a split decision too late to do anything about them in the once every two years meeting of the Texas Legislature, and then can the whole idea if it doesn’t do homage to state control over gun rights.  And then he’ll make excuses for the committees about the wording being wrong, or LEOs opposing the bills because of “public safety,” or some such bullshit.

Watch and see if I’m wrong about this.  You can tell him what you think about all of this at the following email address: dennis.bonnen@house.texas.gov.

Texas Police Chiefs On Open Carry

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 6 months ago

The title is a little bit of a misnomer (since the article focuses on one chief) but follows the title at KXAN.com:

CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — At McBride’s Guns in Central Austin, gun sales are up in advance of an open carry law potentially being passed at the state Capitol. But Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix says there are several unanswered questions attached to the law.

“What are the requirements of open carry, what about proof of eligibility?” he said. “Will people have to carry it with them?”

All 84 of his officers attend training on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, and even more training will be required if the bill passes.

“I will say that’s just a reality,” said Mannix. “It is going to be difficult for the beat cop to know who should have a gun, who shouldn’t have a gun, and frankly there are people out there who shouldn’t own guns.”

Mannix also serves as the chair of the Texas Association of Police Chiefs. He worries open carry could make situations, like ones involving an active shooter, more dangerous.

“The last thing you want to see is somebody with a gun who’s not a police officer at an active shooter situation not immediately responding to commands to drop their weapon and get on the ground,” the chief said.

The Chief has raised two different issues in the same breath.  The first issue has to do with proof of eligibility, and I told you this would be a problem.

… licensed open carry in a state with no stop and identify statute for enforcement is a shooting-by-cop waiting to happen.  And I certainly don’t support empowering the police state any more by giving them a stop and identify statute.  That would be making something bad even worse.

Gun rights advocates are better off to hold out for constitutional carry rather than begging for scraps that fall from the master’s table.

I didn’t say give Texas LEOs a stop and identify statute.  I said give the citizens of Texas recognition of their constitutional rights with un-permitted open carry.

The second issue the Chief raises has to do with situations of responses.  He said, “The last thing you want to see is somebody with a gun who’s not a police officer at an active shooter situation not immediately responding to commands to drop their weapon and get on the ground.”

Why does he think this is going to be a problem?  First of all, the situation is likely to be mitigated by the time LEOs get there if there are carriers in the area, and whether they are open carriers or concealed carriers isn’t relevant to the question (there are concealed carriers all over Texas and always have been).  So what problems has the Chief seen that he thinks will get worse because of some unstated characteristic of open carriers?  My suspicion is that there are no problems the Chief can cite because he is using boogey-man arguments.  Boo!  Boo!  Be askeerd!

In the end we all know the truth, and it is that constitutional carry, concealed or open, is the best option because it comports with the rights God has granted to men and women.  The politicians and LEOs in Texas have apparently yet to learn (or acknowledge) that.

God, Guns And Texas

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 7 months ago

Houston Chronicle:

But by Wednesday afternoon, when members of the upper chamber had spent more than a full working day debating the two bills, the dean of the Senate felt it necessary to question his Republican colleagues’ characterization of gun rights as God-given.

“You believe it’s a God-given right to arm yourself and to defend yourself. I don’t want to put words in your mouth. Is that the premise of your legislation?” John Whitmire, D-Houston, the longest-serving member of the Senate asked campus carry sponsor Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury.

What followed was the most detailed explanation offered thus far this session by a Texas lawmaker.

“The Declaration (of Independence) says we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights and that to protect these rights, governments are instituted among men to preserve them. Article VII of the U.S. Constitution brings forward the Declaration as original law, therefore, creator and God are the same to me,” said Birdwell.

He added, “the right to self preservation and the right to defend one’s life is God-given because of the language in our Declaration and Article VII of the U.S. Constitution.”

Whitmire responded, “And you’ve explained that to me and I do not understyand (sic) fully the “God right” (sic?) … I don’t remember in the Sunday school lessons or in my Scriptures that God spoke, obviously to weapons, or concealed weapons holders.”

Whitmire’s question (and appended clarification) was stupid, but Birdwell’s answer doesn’t entirely stay on point.  If Birdwell is trying to harken back to the Christian roots of the nation, we’ve done that before and there is plenty of basis for showing reformational thinking in the the war of independence and constitution.

But the question goes to the basis for self defense, or what Whitmire calls the “God right” (whatever that means).  The basis comes not from the constitution or any other founding document, but from God Himself, and he answers to no one.  His laws have a deontological flavor (see Divine Command Theory).  He refers to no one outside Himself for notions of right and wrong, and when He speaks, it is right because He has spoken it and it follows the nature of His character, which is itself good.  Simply said, God doesn’t need the constitution, and neither do we need it to tell us it is okay to seek and employ means of self defense.  To the extent that either the U.S. or Texas constitutions don’t follow the rights delineated in the Holy Scriptures, they are evil and must be amended or ignored.

As for what the Holy Scriptures have said, we’ve also discussed that.  It is all based on the fact that God created mankind in His image.  As I’ve summarized before:

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

Self preservation goes beyond a right.  It is a duty, as much of a duty as protection of the little ones.  It is so because man is made in God’s image.  Life is thus sacred, holy, and set apart.  That Whitmire doesn’t understand this means only that he is stolid and hasn’t understood anything he has read from the Scriptures, or that he is a liar and hasn’t really read the Scriptures like he claims.

The next steps to things like open carry require a bit of thought, as I have pointed out to Professor Eugene Volokh.

… carrying concealed means that the weapon can get hung on shirts, pants, and other clothing, and certainly means a delay in presenting the weapon due to the need to remove the offending clothing in order to get to the weapon) …

And if this isn’t an infringement of rights, then at what point does it become so?  Can the law require us to have one hand tied behind our back?  If seems a silly question, and how about one to which the courts would no doubt be more amenable?  Would it infringe on our rights if the law required us to have our weapons unloaded, regardless of method of carry?  Or would it infringe on our rights if the law required us to have two or more garments covering a weapon in order to ensure that we had no inadvertent flashing of the weapon if we bend over or in a stiff wind?

Some of us open carry for reasons other than making a statement.  As for the protests, making a statement to politicians is only necessary when the politicians are dense and relentlessly recalcitrant concerning rights.  It’s time for the politicians in Texas to do the right thing and honor God-given rights.  As for the slower ones like Whitmire, Sunday School is usually held every Sunday.

Guns Tags:

Houston Police Officer Open Carry Stop

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 7 months ago

The video below is being bandied about over various internet forums, as well as via Bob Owens.  Bob’s commenters are all confused and basically don’t know what they are talking about.  Similarly, the comments over the YouTube video – some of which are supportive and some of which aren’t – point to a problem of understanding and confusion.  Watch the video and then I’ll clear up that confusion for you.

He was just trying to tell if the person was a felon, or so the comment[s] at YouTube go.  The cop clearly is in favor of gun rights, claiming (falsely) that he is a three percenter.  “I’m sympathetic to the cop here,” says Uncle.

Now, take a deep breath, calm down and let’s clear up the confusion.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a legendary body slam to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for stopping a man for openly carrying a weapon in an open carry state (North Carolina), even when it was later determined that the man was a criminal.  See Fourth Circuit Finds That Carrying A Firearm In An Open Carry State Does Not Create Reasonable Suspicion And Provides Thorough Analysis Of The “Free To Leave” Standard.

This was clearly not a so-called “Terry Stop” (the cop didn’t believe a law had been broken) and the LEO had no need or right to know whether the man was a felon.  According to the court, it was none of his business.  No demurral, case closed, end of discussion.  Period.  That’s all.  You don’t need to know any more than that.

But since the bed wetters (who may be reading this) might need to know more, we’re going to help you.

OK, it is fairly simple.  If you are under arrest refuse to provide your name, date of birth, or residence address, you commit a Class C misdemeanor unless you have warrants outstanding, when it is a Class B misdemeanor.  If you are either under arrest or lawfully detained, it is an offense to provide a false name, date of birth or address.  The later is a Class B or A misdemeanor, dependent on whether you have outstanding warrants.

What is not an offense is refusing to provide your name, date of birth, or residence address when you are lawfully detained. See Dutton v. Hayes-Pupko, No. 03-06-00438-CV, 2008 Tex. App. LEXIS 6030, 2008 WL 3166324 (Tex. App.–Austin 2008, no pet.).  The court held that Deputy Derrick Dutton had arrested Sheryl Hayes-Pupko without probable cause since the law did not require her to identify herself while she was only being detained..  Dutton’s mistake of law did not provide a defense for the false arrest claim.

Unfortunately, this is not unusual for Texas.  Police officers in this state have an idea that they have the right to identify anyone at anytime for any or no reason.  The courts have repeatedly slapped them down on this.

  • “The application of Tex. Penal Code Ann., Tit. 8, § 38.02 (1974), to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct.  Accordingly, appellant may not be punished for refusing to identify himself, and the conviction is Reversed.”  Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979).
  • “It is clear petitioner was arrested and convicted for his refusal to answer Officer Jennings’ question requesting that petitioner identify himself. This is impermissible even in the context of a lawful investigatory stop.” Spring v. Caldwell, 516 F. Supp. 1223 (S.D. Tex. 1981), reversed on other grounds 692 F.2d 994 (5th Cir. 1982).
  • “First, Officer Lowe obtained identification from each occupant of the automobile though he had no legal basis whatever for demanding them.”  Lewis v. State, 664 S.W.2d 345 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984).
  • “Moreover, the Supreme Court has previously dealt with a case in which Texas police officers demanded that an individual identify himself even though they had no reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime. In Brown v. Texas, the Court [11]  ruled that Texas Penal Code Ann. § 38.02 (a), as enacted by the Texas legislature in 1974, was unconstitutional because it allowed an officer to stop and demand identification of an individual without any specific basis or belief that he was involved in criminal activity.” Weddle v. Ferrell, No. 3:99-CV-0453-G, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2659, 2000 WL 256891 (N.D. Tex. 2000).
  • “Officers have the right to conduct an investigation of a driver following a traffic violation, but do not have authority to investigate a passenger without reasonable suspicion.”  St. George v. State, 237 S.W.3d 720 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007) (holding that arrest of passenger for failure to identify not valid absent legal detention).

Yet we still see police officers demand identification in Texas and threaten arrest (or actually make arrest) on Failure to Identify when in fact, no offense has occurred.

Although oriented towards Texas law, this is true even in states that have stop and identify statutes if the stop isn’t a so-called “Terry Stop.”  The officer has no need or right to know who the person is.  Period.  Do you understand now?

The officer was a jackass, but worse than that, he was wrong as to the details and application of the law, like many LEOs today are.  Before the bed-wetters blow their bladders, they need to study the law a little bit.  And Bob Owens needs to educate his readers rather than allowing the pooling of ignorance in comments over his web site.  That is unseemly and undignified.

Texas Politicians Renege On Promise Of Open Carry Legislation

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 8 months ago

We just discussed how at least one of the proposed pieces of legislation in Texas is licensed open carry.  A deal may very well have been struck well before the session concerning what the Governor expected to come to his desk.  This isn’t the only open carry bill in Texas, and so the show isn’t over yet.  But there is a cold wind blowing concerning the promises made to the voters.

Texas never met a gun-rights bill it didn’t like.

But if one actually fails to pass the Legislature this session, the author of the state’s 1995 handgun permit law knows why.

A bill to allow Texans to pack pistols without a permit won’t pass “because of the Tarrant County open-carry group’s obnoxious behavior,” former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson warned by email Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said a different bill allowing open carry with a permit “does not reach to the level of prioritizing” before adjournment June 1.

Basically, Patterson said, that bill might have a chance if Open Carry Tarrant County stays home.

Patrick’s comment will “stir up a lot of folks,” Patterson wrote, adding: “I hope these folks don’t make another scene.”

Patterson called that “foolish.” Watkins’ comment: “Shame on you.”

Patterson wants the Legislature to pass bills allowing open carry and carrying at public colleges, both with a permit.

Since he worked hard for permits, he likes them.

Consider me shocked – a member of the ruling class likes it when the government gets to approve or disapprove of rights.  The promise strategically didn’t include constitutional carry, and the so-called “obnoxious” behavior of open carry advocates has given him a convenient excuse for something he never wanted to do in the first place.

Another report (thanks to MackH) tells us more about the political machinations.

Speaking the day after pro-gun advocates again flocked to the state Capitol, Patrick said he thought “Second Amendment rights are important” but he didn’t think “there’s support in the Legislature to pass” a bill to legalize the open carry of handguns. In Texas, you can openly tote long arms like rifles and AR-15s, but the same has been illegal for handguns for more than 125 years.

“On open carry I’ve been very consistent, that if the votes are there, the bill will pass out of the Senate,” said Patrick. “But I’m not an open carry person myself. I wouldn’t open carry but I respect people’s right who want to.”

[ … ]

While Patrick’s comments on open carry Tuesday morning were nothing new – he ‘s made similar statements on news programs and at town hall meetings in the recent past – they seem to contradict campaign material that promised the then state senator and radio show host would more actively support the effort. On his campaign website, one of the five “Second Amendment” issues Patrick lists as priorities is to “fight for open carry.” A campaign ad also includes a promise to “support” the effort.

In a retweet of a San Antonio Express-News story from November 2013, Patrick campaign consultant Allen Blakemore also stated, “@DanPatrick supports open carry.”

If this all sounds like politicians making promises in order to get elected and then reverting collectivist after being elected, it’s because that’s exactly what happened.  And as to the propaganda that this all has to do with those “obnoxious” open carriers, Sebastian fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Remember, before their little stunt, this was supposedly a done deal … So far all all the OC Tarrant County folks have accomplished this session is getting the legislature to install panic buttons, and scuttling a bill that looked like it had the legs to pass. What else will they manage to accomplish in this legislative session?

Right.  They’re all a-skeered of the open carriers, enough to install “panic buttons.”  It sounds to me like they aren’t a-skeerd enough.  The legislators are supposed to be in our employ, and maybe what they need to see is more voters carrying guns.

As for the open carry bill they floated, I’d sooner have nothing.  As I’ve said, licensed open carry in a state with no stop and identify statute for enforcement is a shooting-by-cop waiting to happen.  And I certainly don’t support empowering the police state any more by giving them a stop and identify statute.  That would be making something bad even worse.

Gun rights advocates are better off to hold out for constitutional carry rather than begging for scraps that fall from the master’s table.  As for Texas politicians, color me unimpressed.  They seem like a lot of hot air and no action or honesty.  I guess the underhanded, conniving, bullying days of Bob Bullock are still going strong even as Bob lays in the grave.

Texas Open Carry Isn’t Likely To Be Constitutional Carry

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 8 months ago

The secret was out about a week ago.

Another hot topic this session is open carry and Senator Perry already has an idea of what may come of that.

“I think you will see open carry on multiple levels. I think at the end of the day, Governor Abbott was very clear and Lt. Patrick has said the same thing. So, if an open carry bill meets the desk of the governor, it’s going to get signed. I would say if there is a bill that comes out of the house or senate chambers regarding second amendment it will be a license to carry” Senator Perry said.

As if on cue, the bill that has been filed follows what is likely a “behind closed doors” or “gentleman’s agreement.”

AUSTIN – State Sen. Craig Estes filed a bill on Friday that would authorize open carry of modern handguns in Texas by anyone with a license, so long as the handguns are carried in shoulder or belt holsters.

Texas is currently one of the few states that does not permit citizens to openly carry modern handguns under any circumstances. The other states that deny their citizens the right to carry handguns openly are: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina.

“Texas is one of only six states, including California, New York, and Illinois, that still completely ban open carry,” said Estes, R-Wichita Falls, who represents Palo Pinto County. “As Governor Abbott recently said, ‘If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it’s good enough for the state of Texas.’”

[ … ]

If passed, the new license to carry created by this bill would replace the existing concealed handgun license. Applicants would have to meet the same requirements that they currently do to get a concealed handgun license.

 

That’s really too bad for Texans.  The government shouldn’t be in the business of licensing anyone to engage in a constitutional right.  Voters might want to let their elected officials feel their disapprobation.

Now, how is this law to be enforced?  Texas has no “stop and identify” statute.  Either massive confusion is on the way, or more onerous laws like a new stop and identify statute will be part of this bill (or some future bill).  Terrible.  Just terrible.


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