Open Carry Law in Texas
Open Carry Law in Texas
The United States is undergoing a turbulent time in the context of the recent mass shootings that have taken place. The latest example is the Sutherland massacre in Texas, where a gunman entered a church and proceeded to shoot, wound, and kill almost every person that was inside. Although mass shootings are, unfortunately, hardly a new occurrence in the United States, the most recent atrocity has once again renewed the debate surrounding gun and ‘open carry’ laws, particularly in Texas. The debate has proven so complex and heated, that the US public has yet to reach any majority consensus regarding how gun laws should be handled. For some people, including the current President of the United States, loose gun laws are not only an inalienable American right but also a perceived way of increasing individual and societal protection. Indeed, President Trump stated recently that the current loose gun laws in Texas helped to save lives in the recent Texas massacre (Levitz, 2017). Others, however, would disagree with this view. Although guns allow people to protect themselves, in theory, the reality is that loose gun laws simply contribute to easier access. An extension of this issue is related to ‘open carry’ laws, where individuals are allowed to openly carry their weapons in public. Again, proponents of such a law would argue that it increases safety in society through deterrence. However, there is very little evidence to prove such claims, and the existing justifications can be countered with various arguments. For instance, an open carrier might simply become the first target in the event of a mass shooting. This research paper argues that ‘open carry’ should be prohibited as a practice, and gun owners should not be allowed to carry their guns in public because it is more likely to provoke incidents and violence, rather than make society safer.
Currently, it is extremely easy for the citizens of Texas to acquire guns. Gun owners do not need to register their weapons or have any particular license for their firearms (Willingham, 2017). In addition, Texans are allowed to openly carry their weapons in public. There are even plans to soon allow residents to openly carry swords and blades as well (Abrams, 2017). The justifications behind such laws are pretty straightforward, but the same cannot be said for the outcomes of these laws. Owning and carrying weapons is seen by many Americans as an unalienable constitutional right. In addition, it is believed that it allows citizens to respond to incidents (such as mass shootings), which can be crucial when no law enforcers are around. Indeed, this was the case with the recent massacre in Texas, where concealed gun owners opened fire on the suspect.
The fact also remains that the United States suffers from the worst gun-related violence rates in the developed world (McPhilips, 2017). In fact, no European country comes even close to the United States in terms of gun violence (Preidt, 2016). Another important thing to consider is that the US is also the only country in the developed west to have such loose gun laws. Buying, possessing, and using firearms without a license is unimaginable in most Western countries, let alone carrying them in public. It is important to examine these significant statistical differences, and ask ourselves if there are important correlations and insights to be inferred from these facts.
There are a number of problems posed by loose gun laws, such as ‘open carry’. First, they are unlikely to prevent future mass shootings. An individual that is intent on carrying such an atrocity is unlikely to be swayed by these laws, as we can see from past examples. Second, loose gun laws make it easier for individuals, even mentally deranged ones, to acquire guns. Third, open carry laws promote the acceptance of a gun culture, making it easier for individuals with malicious intentions to carry out atrocities. Finally, the open carry of guns can make people feel extremely unsafe and uncomfortable, especially in colleges and campuses, and especially among those who have previously been affected by gun violence.
Loose gun legislation has seen the increased deaths resulting from gun violence across the United States. For the states that have relatively tight laws on gun possession, it has been of no great significance as people still buy weapons from neighboring states. The big challenge is discerning the “good guys” as President Trump calls them. The good guys are obviously hard to note as there are many gun holders with malicious intentions masquerading as good guys (Levitz, 2017). According to recent studies, Americans are ten times likely to succumb to gun violence as compared to other developed states with high income. This is worrying in the face of permissive gun laws, ostensibly to ensure maximum security of person and others. Instead of concentrating on maximizing the number of good guys by loosening gun legislation, the government should focus on tightening the laws so that guns can only be possessed by genuine and assessed individuals with good intent.
Even though the security of person is crucial to the safety of an individual, it should be limited. In the majority of states, there are many individuals with criminal records, both felonious and personal records. The possession of guns should only be confined to individuals who have had no misdemeanor records or any record of misconduct that probably would have amounted to being penalized to not less than one year in jail. Unfortunately, what is prevalent today in the American society is an overemphasis on the security of person without requisite evaluation on who possess the guns that are meant to control or tame instances of mass shootings in the absence of law enforcers (Preidt, 2016). Therefore, the loose laws governing guns should be fastened to ensure that gun possession is only open to a person with no criminal records whatsoever. The change of policy would help control the various deaths that are caused by delinquency resulting from mishandling of guns.
The loose gun legislation has been taken with excessive freedom by the public. While freedom is paramount to every citizen, excessive freedom is detrimental to the growth of a society. The gun violence menace that has plagued the American society is as a result of the loose legislation where no one appears to be responsible in the event of mass shootings or gun violence. Perhaps, this is because of the belief that human beings are autonomous beings whose mind is best and rests on positive judgment (Michael & Joyce, 2015). However, the loose guns have left loopholes where no one seems to be responsible despite the fact that America leads to gun-related deaths. The excessive freedom attached to gun violence has seen the rise in accidental deaths. The prevalence of accidental deaths resulting from a gun among the Americans stands at six times more than other developed states. Therefore, the recklessness in gun possession has undoubtedly resulted in instances of accidental death such as stray bullets. Although there have been several instances of accidental deaths, the government has been reluctant to deduce facts from the instances that the avoidable deaths have always been caused by the presence of many guns across the states.
The legislation on open carry of a firearm is risky as it does not limit the kind of people who should openly carry a gun. As a tool of mass murder, possession of a gun requires sane persons in full possession of their faculty. It is therefore dangerous and unjust for an insane person to possess a firearm. Actually, an insane person should not possess even a sword, let alone a gun. This is because of the nature of their challenged judgment and inability to differentiate what is right and wrong. However, the open carry legislation does not limit the possession of firearms for people with mental disorder (Willingham, 2017). This has seen incidents in which mass shootings have been attributed to the recklessness of mentally challenged persons. For instance, it has been alleged that the June 12, 2016, mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 dead was engineered by a mentally impaired person. Therefore, the conundrum emanating from open carry of firearms has resulted to open carry of guns by individuals with mental impairments. In alleviating this issue, open carry gun laws should be revisited.
The open carry gun law creates a culture in which gun possession is openly accepted. Although it has been defended from the perspective of enhancing deterrence, open carry of guns is harmful as it molds a culture that pays less attention to the character of those who carry guns. Ultimately, this results in a tradition in which criminals circumvent the law by illegally possessing firearms for the purpose of carrying atrocities (McPhilips, 2017). The law creates loopholes in which individuals own guns so that they can execute atrocities through mass shootings. The series of atrocious mass shootings that have recently taken place in various states across the United States can be attributed to the excessively permissive gun laws in whereby gunmen have reportedly been said to enter clubs and various places filled with revelers and worshippers and start indiscriminate shooting. Suppose this legislation never existed, some of the gunmen would have been noticed earlier before undertaking the killings. This is in the sense that it has been difficult to differentiate between a genuine gun holder and a criminal.
In the majority of places that have witnessed mass shootings, individuals live in reasonable fear. In such places, the legislation on open carry of a gun is detrimental as it instills fear among residents and the general public. Similarly, the open carry legislation in places that have witnessed mass shootings subject residents and the general public to discomfort and fear as witnessing deadly scenarios is psychologically torturous. Therefore, so that to ensure comfortability and peace of mind, the legislation should be reviewed to ensure that gun holders revert to the policy of concealing their guns (Levitz, 2017). On the same hand, it becomes difficult to differentiate a criminal and a genuine gun holder when both openly carry weapons. Therefore, the policy creates a puzzle in which members of the public can rarely discern rogue gun holders with intent to harm. For this reason, gun possession should be a concealed.
People who openly carry their guns stand a bigger risk than others who are unarmed. Although open carrying of a weapon is seen from the positive angle that individuals in possession of a gun can be of great help in the event of an unexpected attack, the legislation assumes the security of the very people in public display of deterrence power (Levitz, 2017). Individuals with malicious intent will likely target individuals with guns so that they can go on with their atrocities. Therefore, display of firearms by innocent citizens informs criminals of when it is safe and how they should go about it when others are informed. This, automatically, endangers the lives of those who openly carry their guns as they become the first target of the criminals. Therefore, the open carry legislation should be reviewed so that no one carries his or her gun openly for the purpose of ensuring the security of individuals. This will also help members of the public to remain alert and respond to heinous incidents.
In conclusion, the practice of open carry of firearms should be illegalized as it creates discomfort and fear among the public. Also, the practice is risky as it does not limit the character of those who should possess guns. Due to this, gun violence cases have been occasioned by the mishandling of guns by mentally challenged persons. Worth noting, individuals who own guns subject their lives to immense danger when they openly carry their guns as they become the first target of criminals.
Abrams, A. (2017). Texas Will Soon Let You Openly Carry a Sword (and Many Other Weapons). Time. Retrieved November 17, 2017, from http://time.com/4857911/texas-sword-knives-law/.
Levitz, E. (2017). Trump: Lax Gun Laws Actually Saved Lives in Texas Church Shooting. NY Mag. Retrieved November 17, 2017, from http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/trump-lax-gun-laws-saved-lives-in-texas-church-shooting.html.
McPhilips, D. (2017). U.S. a World Outlier in Firearms. US News. Retrieved November 17, 2017, from https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-06-15/us-is-global-leader-in-gun-violence-and-ownershiI can’t complete this order.
Michael, A. & Joyce, A. (2015). Suicide Rates and State Laws Regulating Access and Exposure to Handguns. American Journal of Public Health. Oct 2015, Vol. 105 Issue 10, p2049-2058. 10p.
Preidt, R. (2016). How U.S. gun deaths compare to other countries. CBS News. Retrieved November 17, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-u-s-gun-deaths-compare-to-other-countries/.
Willingham, A. J. (2017). Church shooter’s history puts a spotlight on Texas gun laws. CNN. Retrieved November 17, 2017, from http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/06/health/texas-gun-laws-devin-kelley-court-martial-trnd/index.html.
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