Texas: Need To Bypass Those Long Security Lines at the State Capitol? Bring a Gun
The author of the article calls this a “loophole,” I call it more like a “perk” that comes with exercising your Constitutional right to bear arms.
Welcome to the Texas Capitol, where children go through metal detectors… but gun-toting visitors breeze straight in
There’s an easy way to skip the long lines of children and tourists waiting to be security-checked at the Texas Capitol – take a gun.
In a remarkable loophole, visitors with a concealed handgun licence do not have go through the metal detectors and security scanners put in place last year after a gunman fired shots outside the government building.
But not everyone bypassing the checks is carrying a gun. Lobbyists and journalists have signed up in droves to get a licence before this month, when the legislature is convened and the Capitol is at its busiest.
Carrie Knoll, advocacy director at the Texas Paediatric Society, decided to get a licence before the new legislative session to avoid being stuck behind crowds of schoolchildren.
She said: ‘Do I think it’s silly? Yes.’
Licence-holders enter the building in a special ‘CHL access’ lane, bypassing the metal detectors and X-ray scanners used for everyone else.
But Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said state troopers stationed at the building’s four checkpoints inspect the licences to make sure they are valid.
‘It’s not like they just whoosh on through,’ she said.
Would-be licence-holders must take classes and have criminal background checks before they can get a permit, which costs $140.
Under Texas law, citizens can carry a gun with them – as long as they have a permit and keep it hidden.
The loophole was introduced to stop them having to take their guns out at security checkpoints.
More than 460,000 people in the state have a concealed handgun licence – including state senator Dan Patrick, who says he carries his gun at the Capital most of the time.
He said: ‘I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I don’t have the chance to defend myself, my family or my friends.
‘We live in a world where you can encounter danger at home or work or on the street.’
It was Mr Patrick’s office gunman Fausto Cardenas visited before firing several shots outside the building last year in the incident that prompted tighter security checks.
Richard Robertson, who brought his gun into the Capitol this weekend, said he is glad he can – and defended the state against gun campaigners who have criticised the system.
He told Reuters: ‘It’s not the Wild West mentality where I’m hoping to get into a fight, but if some lunatic tries something, I’d feel better having the means to put an end to it.
‘Around here, it’s not that big of a deal (to have a gun at the Capitol). Someone from out of state may think we’re a bunch of yahoos.’Explore posts in the same categories: Gun Control, Right to Bear Arms