Jason Stanford, 2/8/2015 [Archive]

A Modest Proposal for Open Carry

By Jason Stanford

There are those who dare to suggest that Texas unduly restricts firearms. They object at having to take a safety class and obey certain rules governing the concealment of their deadly weapons. Their solution is called "constitutional carry," or the belief that the Constitution allows them to openly wield guns without restriction, apology, or safety training.

This raises certain questions and problems, such as why it seems the strongest advocates of constitutional carry seem to be our society's most threatened members. In encounters so far with state lawmakers, their baby bunny feelings have not hidden under a bush but scampered around for everyone to chase. To them, I hasten to soothe their worries, for they have a brilliant idea.

Before examining the myriad expressions of genius inherent in constitutional carry, we first need to set aside prosaic concerns such as Kory Watkins. A leader of the constitutional carry folks, Watkins posted a picture of an armed Rep. Jonathan Stickland on Facebook with the caption, "Bunch of cowards in, [sic] Austin giving our rights away trying to hide [sic]. Not this guy."

The problem isn't that Stickland is openly armed but Watkins' ranty punctuation and run-on sentence. If he's not careful, people might think he's an idiot.

I'd hate for that to happen, because Watkins has a serious point to make.

"Going against the Constitution is treason. And, my friend, that is punishable by death. That's how serious this is," Watkins said recently. "We should be demanding these people give us our rights back or it's punishable by death. Treason! You understand how serious this is, Texas?"

Oh, I think Texas is picking up what he's laying down, but even Watkins lacks the true courage of his convictions. Constitutional carry, properly and literally applied, could solve many of society's ills.

Imagine openly armed visitors to the Texas capitol looking down on their elected officials as they carry out their duties. A politician might care less what the business lobby wants! And have we already forgotten how Cliven Bundy showed how an openly armed citizenry can solve the problem of property taxes?

Consider how constitutional carry could improve the classroom environment. Some whose love for Texas comes up short have criticized a recent proposal to allow teachers to use deadly force in defense of school property. What student would dare vandalize school property if the gym teacher was standing behind him asking if he felt lucky?

But let's take this idea to its logical conclusion. Clearly, it's not just teachers who need guns, but janitors, bus drivers, and assistant principals. Want to horse around in the library? You'll get more than a shushing under constitutional carry.

Flip that around to the students' perspective. A teacher might be more motivated to properly consider both sides of scientific theories such as evolution, infectious diseases, sanitation, and gravity if little Johnny brings his deer rifle to homeroom.

And yes, it's going to have to be Johnny, and not Susan, and not just any Johnny. This is constitutional carry, so these rights should be limited to white, landowning males. For personal protection, women will have to get married to a landowning man or carry around jars of poop.

As originally written, our Constitution limited an African-American to three-fifths of a person, so if a black man owned land, he would of course be allowed to own a gun, but only three-fifths of one. This would effectively leave a black man unarmed in a society filled with white landowners carrying guns, but recent experience suggests that we should expect only minimal complications. For safety's sake, black people should come up with a safe word or phrase, maybe a universally recognized gesture of submission.

Some naysayers might point to a phrase in the Constitution regarding a "well-regulated militia." Obviously what is meant by this is an American version of Switzerland's Weapons Act. Simply issue every landowning white male an assault rifle. There is no problem with guns that cannot be solved with more guns.

That's not in the Constitution, but it's implied.

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©Copyright 2015 Jason Stanford, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Jason Stanford is a regular contributor to the Austin American-Statesman, a Democratic consultant and a Truman National Security Project partner. You can email him at stanford@oppresearch.com and follow him on Twitter @JasStanford.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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