Police concerned about change in concealed weapons law
Is it just me or do all the officers become anti-2nd amendment when they get to the top? In Texas, it's perfectly legal to carry a loaded weapon in your car, with out a license, as long as it's concealed; you have no legal responsibility to inform an officer of that weapon if you are stopped.
Yet up until now, they expected us licensed carriers to be legally bound to notify an officer if we are stopped. They seem to forget that us licensed citizens have been extensively investigated to certify we are non felons, sane, have no violent criminal history and are trained by the state to shoot and safely handle our weapons; in other words, a law abiding citizen.
I fail to see the police unions reasoning on this matter; not to mention, I believe that all officers should treat every traffic stop as if the people in the vehicle are armed, if they wish to go home at the end of each shift.
7:57 AM CDT on Monday, September 7, 2009
By Lee McGuire / 11 News HOUSTON—The president of Houston’s Police Union is concerned that officers’ safety has been put at risk by the Texas Legislature, which quietly relaxed the state’s concealed weapons rules at the end of last session.
The change, which took effect Sept. 1, removes the penalty for not presenting a concealed handgun license to a peace officer if the officer asks to see identification, and if the person being questioned has a hidden weapon. Until this month, the state could suspend a violator’s concealed handgun license for a year.
“People that have the concealed handgun license are our most law-abiding citizens,” said State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who sponsored the legislation. “We felt like losing your license for a year was a bit too punitive.”
Kolkhorst said the removal of the penalty was a decision made at the suggestion of State Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock. Isett could not be reached for comment over the holiday weekend.
Gary Blankinship, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, said the new rules could put officers at risk.
“We feel like the way it was was much safer,” Blankinship said. “When an officer is on a traffic stop and he observes a weapon that he wasn’t made aware of, he is going to draw his weapon until he gets the whole scene under control.”
Kolkhorst said she decided to support removal of the penalty because in 2007, lawmakers passed a bill that allowed people who do not have concealed handgun permits to drive with weapons in their cars, as long as the weapons were not visible. This so-called “travelers exemption,” she said, created a situation in which people who had gone through concealed weapons training and held permits could be cited for forgetting to hand over their permits, whereas someone who had never had any training would have been held harmless.
“It was almost a penalty if you had gone through all the extra effort to be able to carry a handgun license, then you were penalized if you forgot to identify that you were carrying that license,” she said.
Blankinship said the change means a substantial weakening of the state’s concealed weapons rules.
“I understand the logic in why it was done,” he said, “but sometimes you do one thing and it causes an adverse effect.”