It was bound to happen, but the the GOP's provocative rhetoric on guns has finally backfired. Even the NRA has said the Open Carry Texas tactics are "downright scary," "downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself."
The TABC informed the GOP that over enthusiastic gun toters will not be allowed in the convention hall due to alcohol permits.
The open carrying of a long gun such as a rifle or shotgun is legal in Texas, but recently Moms Demand Action on Gun Sense has won several high profile battles against members of Open Carry Texas who demonstrated at popular chain restaurants, resulting in corporate bans on such displays.
Even after New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg pledged $50 million to help push back against the NRA, the carry-at-all-cost movement has proven to be its own biggest threat. And now it has even sparked a civil war of sorts between Open Carry Texas and the NRA over style and substance.
See what the Texas GOP Chairman has to say and Open Carry Texas' response to the NRA...
A year after the Senate majority blocked a bill that would have required background checks for commercial gun sales, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayor's Against Illegal Guns have announced a new umbrella effort called "Everytown."
The idea is to compete directly with the National Rifle Association on membership numbers and lobbying efforts.
The local Chapter of Moms Demand Action made their announcement at Austin City Hall today and were met by protesters from Open Carry Texas, a group that supports the open carry of handguns.
According to Everytown's website:
Everytown connects survivors to each other, creating a vital network of people who support one another and work together to make change. Everytown also acts as a resource to survivors, educating them about gun laws and the policy-making process so they can take more effective action together.
Click below the jump to see who pledged $50,000,000 of their own wealthy to kick start Everytown...
Today a gun and hardware store in Nederland, Texas confirmed that their sign read, "We are now closed on Saturday Thanks Obama." A picture surfaced on facebook and at least several local Southeast Texans who recognized the store began to call for an explanation and share their conversations. Multiple sources had similar stories, they were told the economy was slow and the store could not afford to stay open on Saturday...and that it was Obama's fault.
My initial thought was that it was over Obamacare, and when I saw that they also sold guns thought could it be related to recent proposed gun legislation. But then I remembered headlines like, "Barack Obama, Gun Salesman of the Year" from Bloomberg and, "Anti-Gun Debate May Be Best Thing For Firearm Industry Since Obama's Election" from Forbes -- and it just didn't make sense.
I called the store and identified myself as a reporter. After confirming the accuracy of the photo, I was told that both my theory on Obamacare and guns were wrong and someone from management would call if they had further comment. I'm not holding my breath for that phone call and Democrats may not want to hold theirs lest their faces turn blue long before Texas does. Just this month 3 elected officials from Jefferson County have switched parties from Democrat to Republican.
That represents a shift the area has seen over the last few election cycles. In the past the area has been pro-labor and reliably Democrat but never socially progressive. Still, with a growing student population and art community it remains one of the state's of greatest potentials for adding Democratic votes with some training and outreach efforts. I know because I helped to hold the line as Executive Director of the Jefferson County Democratic Party and after I left, I saw several seats over the next couple of cycles change hands to the Republicans. I know the story and I see what grassroots groups are doing online back home to put Texas back on a path to progress.
If you want to make change, putting your money where your mouth is is always a good start. One caller told me when the employee blamed Obama for their store being closed on Saturday that she replied, "well I won't be shopping there Mon - Friday then."
If there is a single politician in Texas who holds the record for eliciting the most rumors, it has to be Governor Rick Perry. Part of it is because he is our state' longest serving governor, but part is because he also seems to revel in unpredictability. So, as far what the Governor will actually announce on Monday regarding his "exciting future plans" no one seems to know for sure, or at least those who do are certainly keeping quiet, and that only leaves one thing -- speculation.
Having grown up around the Capitol with my ear to the ground I tend to get good info early and often but some of the rumors I have heard about Perry's plans are a big stretch even for him. We know from previous statements that he is interested in running for president again, but according to what Perry has insinuated about Monday that is not likely to be a part of the announcement. In fact Perry said that if all goes well he may have another announcement "later in the year, if there's more expansive plans". It seems mostly likely that this later announcement may address his presidential (or vice-presidential?) ambitions.
If the Gov. does have later plans to run for president, that means that whatever new gig he's lined up for himself would likely be played on the national stage. Most of the rumors tend to support this idea of Perry crisscrossing the US raising money for conservative causes, if not candidates.
(Thanks to Jordan and the folks at CREDO for calling out Ted Cruz. His office has already received OVER 5000 faxes. Click the link and add to the pile! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)
I was outraged when a few dozen members of the Senate managed to block an up-or-down vote on expanded background checks for gun buyers.
But then my friends at Mayors Against Illegal Guns exposed the donation records of the gun lobby to some of those senators, and it was easy to see what compelled these members of Congress to vote against the vast majority of their constituents: money.
That's why they created this powerful receipt to show how Senator Ted Cruz is bought and paid for by the NRA.
The strengthened background check bill could have saved countless lives. And over 90% of Americans, and 74% of NRA members, supported expanding background checks in this way.1
But because the NRA opposed the plan, these bought and paid for senators helped block an up-or-down vote.2
The 45 members of the Senate who voted against the vast majority of Americans on background checks have accepted over $8 million — just in contributions and independent expenditures — from the NRA and other lobbying groups that act as a front for gun manufacturers.
Putting the NRA's agenda above the will and needs of their constituents is wrong. They need to hear that from constituents like you.
The NRA is in Houston this week. I was supposed to join the Bluebonnet Brigade to protest their presence in Houston, their immoral purchase of politicians, and simply their incoherent arguments. Lo and behold the time conflicted with this show and I figured my commitment to the show must be fulfilled.
Deborah Mowery, one of the participants, will be calling into the show with updates. If she gets her pictures uploaded during the show I will post them.
The second topic I want to cover is more general. It is called America in decline. I just came back from Starbucks where I had a long discussion with a Filipino immigrant with a lot of friends in my area that made the book What's the Matter with Kansas prescient. He could not understand why his very hard work "to attain the American dream" will ultimately fail because of America's new reality.
The NRA is in Houston this weekend for their convention.
That's kind of ironic, because universal background checks for all gun sales are supported by 89 percent of Houstonians and 87 percent of Americans nationwide.
But it's not nearly as ironic as this video featuring Governor Rick Perry in which he is no way overcompensating for anything (...like his...intellect...) in this video that played before he addressed the NRA members gathered in our state.
Guns are big in Texas, but on Saturday the state will be a battleground of sorts in the nation's debate over when "well-regulated" becomes too regulated. The NRA is pumped up after their victory in Congress over background checks which their spokesman called, "an opening battle in what will be a multi-year war,". The House will spend the day dueling over firearm-related bills, while the NRA holds a national convention just hours away in Houston amid protesters.
Among the bills the House will debate are HB 47 by Dan Flynn (R-Canton). The bill reduces the minimum number of hours (from 10 to 6) of the classroom instruction portion required in the handgun proficiency course for a concealed handgun license and removes the limit on the number of instruction hours. You may have seen a preview on The Colbert Report?
The "campus carry" bill, HB 972 (Fletcher/Flynn), would reverse current law and effectively legalize guns on campus across the state by forcing student bodies and faculty to individually adopt written rules or regulations prohibiting concealed handgun license holders from carrying handguns on premises. Testimony on behalf of the bill included representatives from the Tarrant County Republican Party, Texas A&M Student Government Association, Texas state rifle association, and Texas students for concealed carry on campus. Testimony against included representatives from: Texas Gun Sense, Austin Police Department, Texas Suicide Prevention Council, and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.
HB 1349 by Larson (R-San Antonio) would prohibit the Texas Department of Public Safety from requesting or requiring a concealed handgun license applicant or holder to provide their social security number as part of application or renewal.
You can see what other firearm bills will be discussed here, or watch the floor debate live via the Texas Tribune live feed or follow the hashtag "#TxLege" on twitter.