Campus Carry Updates In Texas And Georgia

Two events in Texas and Georgia illustrate the advance of campus carry.

In the first event, University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves said he “would bow to state law” regarding campus carry. He adopted the recommendations of the Campus Carry Working Group who has advised him on how to comply with the law. His decision will allow licensed concealed carry holders to carry in classrooms at the University of Texas. However, he will still work to ban firearms from most on-campus residential halls.

From the Austin Statesman:

“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” said Fenves, who has led the Austin flagship campus since June 3. “I empathize with the many faculty members, staffers, students and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms.

“However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law. Under the law, I cannot adopt a policy that has the general effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus. I agree with the working group that a classroom exclusion would have this effect.”

Fenves is confident his decision will stand up to challenges. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has previously issued a non-binding advisory memo stating that dorms shouldn’t be off-limits to firearms.

Moving on to Georgia, the House Public Safety and Homeland Security approved HB 859 which would allow concealed carry in school buildings including classrooms. However, the bill excludes carry from dorms, sorority and fraternity houses, and athletic facilities. The bill was passed out of committee on a 10-3 vote and now goes to the House Rules Committee before it is voted on by the entire Georgia House of Representatives.

If the Georgia bill passes the House, it will go on to the Georgia Senate. Not being a Georgian, I’m not sure of the bill’s chances in the Senate. That body did remove campuses from an expansion of carry locations in a 2014 bill.

H/T Georgia Carry

On Texas, Whiskey, And Other Stuff

If you noticed that my blogging tailed off around midweek, it was because I was in Texas for my cousin Bill’s funeral. I flew down Wednesday evening and returned Friday night.

It was both a sad and joyous occasion. Sad because his wife Annie lost the love of her life. Sad because Bill was killed by a reckless driver who crossed the center line and hit him head-on. Sad because so many of us lost a friend.

It was joyous because everyone had a story or two to tell about Billy. These stories usually revolved around fishing because Billy was the consummate avid fisherman. Whether it was going on the “trip of a lifetime” to catch big yellow fin tuna which he ended up repeating a number of times or using somewhat controversial methods to catch a big rainbow trout at Yellowstone’s Fishing Bridge, they all epitomized Bill. When he went on his “trip of a lifetime”, he thought nothing of fishing 20 hours out of 24 when they were on the fish.

The wreath above was from his fishing friend Todd. I thought it was the perfect touch for the reception after the funeral where we all gathered to share a meal and tell Billy stories.

Bill had managed the food service operations for Aramark at the huge Dow Chemical plant in Freeport, Texas for many years. How Aramark handled things the day of his funeral says a lot about them as a company and the respect that Bill’s co-workers had for him. Aramark closed the food service operations on Thursday and gave all the employees the day off with pay so that they could attend the funeral. From the looks of it, virtually all attended the funeral.

The thing that stands out in my mind about Texas and Texans is how generous they are in times of crisis. Neighbors and friends were constantly bringing in food. Mike, their next door neighbor, was a retired Houston fireman and he cleaned the belongings out of Bill’s truck so as to spare Annie even more pain and grief. His fishing buddy Todd and his wife Lisa were there from day one of the tragedy. The list goes on and on.

Texas, in addition to great people, is blessed with some really good liquor stores. On my way to the airport I stopped at the Spec’s in Pearland to see what they might have in the way of Texas offerings. The Spec’s salesperson first asked my price range and then recommended the Rio Brazos Boxcar Texas Whiskey. Rio Brazos is a craft distillery located in College Station. It will be interesting to try given that the whiskey has a final filtering through coarse pecan wood.

Finally, I need to say something about Southwest Air. I like the fact that they don’t charge for checking bags and I like their boarding system. Very few people try to cram everything they’ve brought into the overhead bins. As a result, boarding by number instead of assigned seat is quick and efficient.

Balanced Report On Open Carry In Texas….From NPR?

When the Complementary Spouse got home from work yesterday, she told she had just listened to a report on open carry in Texas that was rather balanced. The report was on NPR’s All Things Considered afternoon news show.

After I listened to it, I agreed. The report by John Burnett interviewed Cory Watkins of Open Carry Tarrant County, C.J. Grisham of OCT, Stephanie Lundy of Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors, and Alice Tripp of the Texas State Rifle Association.

Alice Tripp made the point that open carry of ARs and AKs in restaurants was not helping get open carry of handguns passed in the Texas legislature. She is quoted as saying, “It’s not helpful. It’s not good manners. It’s not thoughtful. It’s not conducive to facilitating the legislative process.”

The report was balanced enough to note that both Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis were in support of allowing Texans to open carry handguns. Coming from NPR, who woulda thunk it?

You can listen to the whole report at this link. I had tried to embed it but it just wouldn’t work.

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right



The rest of that song by Stealers Wheel goes “here I am stuck in the middle with you.”

That is how I’m feeling about the whole open carry fiasco in Texas. I doubt that there are many readers of this blog that don’t support the extension of open carry in Texas to include handguns. Many states including my own North Carolina have unlicensed open carry.

What is incredibly frustrating is watching Shannon Watts and her fellow gun prohibitionists at Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors making hay out of the bumbling ineptitude of groups like Open Carry Texas. Sonic, Chipotle, and god knows who’s next have issued “Starbucks-style” statement asking the open carry activists to leave them out of the argument.

Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has done yeoman’s work in examining the folly of their actions. You can read some of those posts here, here, and here. There are more.

The attention whoring of these OC activists has caused such backlash that the NRA issued a statement last Thursday which said, in part,

Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.

Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here). In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that’s counterproductive for the gun owning community.

More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. Using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.

Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA backed away from that statement yesterday saying it was the personal opinion of some unnamed staffer and not the NRA’s official position. He apologized for any confusion it caused. Others such as Charles Cooke of National Review disagreed saying that it was what needed to be said. I think I and the majority of the gun blogging and gun podcast community would agree that it needed to said.

Bob Owens had an interesting observation on this at BearingArms.com. He noted that often in cases like this where a statement is retracted that it is the original statement which reflects the internal thinking of the organization. In other words, it was what we called back in my political science days “signalling“.


As Michael Bane emphasized today in his Downrange Radio podcast, our goal in the gun rights community needs to be winning. We no more win hearts and minds with these open carry demonstrations in restaurants than the US Air Force did with carpet bombing in South Vietnam. I would send a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People to everyone in the Texas open carry leadership if I could.

I can’t, so in the meantime I will implore them to cut out the narcissistic displays, clean up their websites and Facebook pages, and, as Michael suggested, think before you do stupid. Those of us stuck in the middle would appreciate it.

While I’m On The Subject Of Open Carry

Rachel, my fellow co-host of The Polite Society Podcast and a gun rights activist in Texas, sent me this link about an agreement on a unified protocol and general policy regarding open carry events put out by a number of open carry groups. As Rachel notes, this is huge given the behind the scenes disagreements among the groups on the best way to push the Texas Legislature to approve open carry of handguns.

The joint release from Texas Carry, Gun Rights Across America, Ellis County Open Carry and Open Carry Texas announcing their unified policy:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Come and Take It Texas, Texas Carry, Gun Rights Across America and Open Carry Texas Joint Statement on OC of Long Arms – May 21, 2014


Over the past year, our members have done what no other organization has been able to do – put open carry at the forefront of the fight to restore gun rights for all Texans. As we have grown, we have had to adjust our efforts based on lessons learned through hundreds of open carry events, big and small.


Looking back, it has become clear that there is one area in which we have gotten the most resistance and suffered the largest setbacks: open carry of long arms into private businesses. This is not a new phenomenon. Early on, because of our efforts, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) sent a message to all TABC licensees warning them about allowing our members to open carry into their businesses. This resulted in places like Smashburger asking us to leave our guns at home. Since then, Starbucks, Wendy’s, Jack In The Box, Applebees and most recently, Chipotle have come out asking we not carry our firearms into their establishments.


Whereas, our mission is to get open carry of handguns passed in Texas, we must once again adjust in a way that shines a positive light on our efforts, our members, and our respective organizations. We are humbly and emphatically imploring our members to cease taking long arms into corporate businesses unless invited. Black Powder revolvers have proven to be very effective and align with our goal of legalizing open carry with a handgun. We do understand that not everyone will be able to afford one, but if you can, we are requesting you do so. Almost every leader has gone to Black powder for a reason. It works.


For all further open carry walks with long guns, we are adopting the following unified protocol and general policy to best ensure meeting our respective legislative mission to legalize open carry:

1) Always notify local law enforcement prior to the walk, especially the day of.
2) Carry Flags and signs during your walk to increase awareness.
3) Carry the long gun on a sling, not held.
4) Do not go into corporate businesses without prior permission, preferably not at all.
5) If asked to leave, do so quietly and do not make it a problem.
6) Do not post pics publicly if you do get permission and are able to OC in a cooperate business.
7) Do not go into businesses with TABC signs posted with a long gun (Ever).
8) If at all possible, keep to local small businesses that are 2A friendly.

We ask that members take a step back and make an objective assessment of what we are trying to accomplish and help us to get open carry passed for everyone. We must be willing and able to recognize what works and what doesn’t, but we need your help to make these efforts a success. It will be very difficult to spin holstered, black powder revolvers into a negative story. This is the goal we are currently striving for, open carry of handguns. We know everyone is working hard for this cause. It is simply time to focus on what has been proven to work. The conversation has shifted from open carry of handguns to rifles in businesses, negating our efforts and distracting us from our mission.


We are winning. Because we are winning, we have come under increased scrutiny by media and politicians. Let’s use that spotlight and make the most positive impact we can!


Carry on!


CJ Grisham, Open Carry Texas 

Terry Holcomb, Sr, Texas Carry 

Murdoch Pizgotti, CATI-TX 

Eric Reed, GRAA

Eric Reed of Gun Rights Across America points out some very valid points that are being ignored by the mainstream media and groups like Everytown would have you not know.

Now under Texas state law, a holder of a concealed handgun license is only required to abide by certain signs that have very specific legal verbiage. Up to this point, none of the above aforementioned businesses have posted these legal signs. So it remains legal for a concealed handgun licensee to concealed carry into these establishments with a valid Texas CHL.

The anti-gun groups have won nothing but a public statement by these businesses to make them just go away. As stated in the press release, gun rights is winning. The fight is in Austin, not at Jack in the Box or Chipotle.

The Roadkill Platform

If you are a deer hunter and you have ever used scent products, you know of Tink’s #69 Doe-in-Rut deer scent. It is the most famous of products developed by Tink Nathan. Now Mr. Nathan is looking beyond just deer scents and lures to politics. He is a candidate for the Texas House of Representatives running as a Republican.

His platform? Roadkill! More specifically, an end to the prohibition in Texas on picking up roadkill for human consumption.

From the Dallas Observer:

He’s also the only candidate, apparently in the entire state, bold enough stand up and defend Texans’ God-given right to eat animals they run over in their cars.

As it stands, picking up roadkill is a crime. Partly, this is because of health-and-safety concerns (hard to know what vile pathogens might be swarming over any given carcass), partly it’s to discourage people from using their cars as hunting weapons. (This has actually been documented. In a 2012 Dallas Morning News story, a state game warden’s staffer recalled a couple of incidents in which motorists intentionally ran over exotic deer in Kerr County, right in Nathan’s backyard.)

Nathan thinks that scavenging roadkill is a personal decision best left up to a driver and the critter he just flattened. There’s no need for the government to stick its nose in.

Besides, he told the San Antonio Express-News, why should buzzards be the only ones to benefit from the frequent animal-car collisions that occur by the thousands on Texas roads. “That meat goes to waste,” Nathan says. “Why not utilize it?”

I think he might have a point. In other states it is legal and oft times fresh (emphasis on fresh) roadkill is taken to charitable food pantries for distribution.

Besides, I like his campaign slogan – “Don’t Send Another Lawyer To Austin” – not to mention the fact he is a Life Member of the NRA.

Valentine’s Day Is Coming

With Valentine’s Day coming, there are a lot of suggestions about what to get your sweetie as a gift. The Rosenburg, Texas Police Department suggests giving the “gift of safety”.

Picture on the Rosenburg PD’s Facebook page.

Rosenburg is a small city located just outside of Houston and is considered part of the Houston metro area. Their police department made the suggestion to give a firearm as a gift on their Facebook page. So far it is has gotten over 2,000 like and 7,600 shares.

As you can imagine, it has generated a lot of comments. However, my favorite one was a response by the police department itself:  “encourage a constitutional right? Of course we would…in fact we took an oath to protect it.”


I think their comment says it all.

Magpul Says Adios, Colorado; Hola, Wyoming And Texas

Magpul Industries has made it official. Their company’s new home will be in both Wyoming and Texas.  Back in February, Magpul drew their line in the sand and said they would be leaving Colorado if House Bill 1224 which limited magazine size passed the State Legislature and was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO). The Democrats passed the bill, Hickenlooper signed it, and Magpul is making good on their intention to move all their operations out of the state.

Magpul will be moving their manufacturing and distribution facilities to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Their company headquarters will be to one of three North Central Texas sites under consideration. Both the states of Wyoming and Texas have put together grant and tax relief packages to lure Magpul to their states. Moreover, both Gov. Matt Mead (R-WY) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) were involved in the pursuit of Magpul.

HiViz Sights moved to the Laramie area earlier this year. Alfred Manufacturing and Lawrence Tool & Molding, both of whom are suppliers to Magpul, had announced their intention to leave Colorado along with Magpul.  I cannot find any news on whether they plan to move their facilities to Wyoming along with Magpul.

Magpul’s official announcement is below:

Magpul Industries announced today that it is relocating its operations to Wyoming and Texas.

The company is relocating manufacturing, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Magpul is leasing a 58,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility during the construction of a 100,000 square foot build-to-suit facility in the Cheyenne Business Parkway. The Wyoming relocation is being completed with support from Governor Matt Mead, the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS.

Magpul is moving its corporate headquarters to Texas. Three North Central Texas sites are under final consideration, and the transition to the Texas headquarters will begin as soon as the facility is selected. The Texas relocation is being accomplished with support from Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Economic Development Corporation.

“Magpul made the decision to relocate in March 2013 and has proceeded on an aggressive but deliberate path” says Doug Smith, Chief Operating Officer for Magpul Industries. “These dual moves will be carried out in a manner that ensures our operations and supply chain will not be interrupted and our loyal customers will not be affected.”

The company began a nationwide search for a new base of operations after legislation was enacted in Colorado that dramatically limits the sale of firearms accessories – the core of Magpul’s business. Magpul plans on initially transitioning 92% of its current workforce outside of Colorado within 12-16 months and will maintain only limited operations in Colorado.

“Moving operations to states that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important,” says Richard Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive Officer for Magpul Industries. “This relocation will also improve business operations and logistics as we utilize the strengths of Texas and Wyoming in our expansion.”

Vote On Switchblade Repeal In Texas

This weekend Knife Rights issued an alert regarding a repeal of the ban on switchblades in Texas. They are asking that those who reside, work, or travel to Texas contact the legislators below urging their support for HB 1862 which would repeal the ban.

I’m glad to see that Knife Rights is working so hard on the second front for the Second Amendment.


In Texas, Knife Rights supported HB1862 has been scheduled for a hearing this Tuesday, April 9, before the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. HB1862, sponsored by Representative Harold Dutton Jr., will repeal the antiquated, senseless ban on the possession of switchblade (automatic) knives in Texas. Knife Rights lobbyist Todd Rathner is on his way to Austin to testify on this important bill and he needs YOUR help!

If you live, work or travel in Texas, PLEASE Call and Write EACH of the Committee Members TODAY and urge them to vote in favor of HB1862.

Chairman: Rep. Abel Herrero 512-463-0462 abel.herrero@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Stefani Carter 512-463-0454 stefani.carter@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Lon Burnam 512-463-0740 lon.burnam@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Terry Canales 512-463-0426 terry.canales@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Bryan Hughes 512-463-0271 bryan.hughes@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Jeff Leach 512-463-0544 jeff.leach@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Joe Moody 512-463-0728 joe.moody@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Matt Schaefer 512-463-0584 matt.schaefer@house.state.tx.us
Rep. Steve Toth 512-463-0797 steve.toth@house.state.tx.us

Whether writing or calling, all that is necessary is to simply ask them to vote in favor of HB1862. Keep it POLITE, short and to the point.

This Doesn’t Make Sense To Me

The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that Remington Arms is planning to invest $20 million in an upgrade to its Ilion, New York plant. The news comes from local politicians who had a meeting on Wednesday with the company.

Local media outlets report that three senators and three Assembly
members met with Remington officials on Wednesday to discuss what they
could do to ensure the company keeps its plant in the Herkimer County
village of Ilion, where Remington employs about 1,200 people.

The report goes on to say that Remington themselves has no comment on the news.

Local news station WKTV Utica has more on the story. The story of the meeting of the New York legislators with senior officials from Remington Arms was the lead story on their evening broadcast.

The senior officials involved were Otto Weigl, senior vice president government and legislative affairs,
Jonathan Sprole, general counsel, and Paul Merz, Ilion plant manager. This meeting is balanced out by a meeting between Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Freedom Group CEO George Kollitides in Austin, Texas. Perry tweeted a picture of himself with Kollitides while holding what appears to be a Remington Defense AR-15 and wearing a Remington jacket on March 1st.

As I said in the headline, it doesn’t make sense for Remington to invest money in plant and equipment upgrades to the Ilion plant given the NY SAFE law and the anti-gun fervor of New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That said, it could be used as a bargaining chip with the industrial and economic development teams of other states that are seeking to have the plant move to their state.

The reality is that it isn’t easy to relocate a plant of the size of the Remington plant in Ilion. While building a new plant in another state or moving the machinery wouldn’t be hard,  it would be hard to replicate the workforce. I could see Remington moving the AR, pistol, and semi-auto rifle production out of that plant and leaving the shotgun and bolt-action rifle manufacturing there. In a way that would make sense as the pistol production could be shifted to the Para USA plant in North Carolina and the AR and other semi-auto production could go to a new plant anywhere.

As with all of these things, we’ll see.