December 18, 2017
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Mass shootings show the need for ‘constitutional carry’

By Jonathan Gaspard, The Dallas Morning News
Jerry Lara | San Antonio Express-News | Zuma Press | TNS | BDN
Jerry Lara | San Antonio Express-News | Zuma Press | TNS | BDN
A small memorial sits along the road near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 8, 2017. On Nov. 5, Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people, including babies, during the church's Sunday service.

When tragedy strikes, as it did recently in Sutherland Springs, Texas, people set aside their differences and unite. We pray, because we know it is powerful even when we feel powerless, and we work to find healing.

Part of that healing is anger. We want to find someone to blame. Beyond just the perpetrator, people may blame the victims for not being prepared, or the police for not being faster, or the Legislature for not having more laws, or God for allowing it to happen at all.

Anger is understandable, but it is also dangerous. People often want to use anger to achieve their own goals. They want the mob to rise up and help them increase their power.

We see this regularly from politicians crying out for more authority so they can “fix things.”

One of the most common guises is to call for “common-sense gun control.” Common sense is included in an attempt to make you feel nonsensical if you do not happen to hold the same views.

But Texans have historically had a different sense of how to deal with gun legislation. That is why the Texas Republican Party calls for our state to recognize constitutional carry, so that anyone who legally possesses a handgun may carry it, open or concealed, without a government-granted permit. The Texas Young Republican Federation supports and affirms this priority legislation.

As we saw in Sutherland Springs, good men and women should not only have the right to carry a gun but also to use it. We are thankful for those who were prepared and helped stop the killer from escaping. These armed citizens probably saved countless innocent lives.

Our federation continues to call on elected officials to conduct themselves with tact and to stop using these types of situations to manipulate public sentiment. We oppose any call for committees or commissions whose purpose is to limit the ability of innocent Texans to defend themselves, no matter on which side of the aisle they sit.

We cannot stop evil. We can only empower good people to do the right thing.

As former Texas state Rep. Susan Gratia-Hupp testified before Congress regarding the 1991 mass shooting at a Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, “I’m not a victim of guns, but of lawmakers who legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my family.”

Hupp was only 32 when she tragically lost her parents in that attack, but like her, today’s Texas Young Republicans respond to terror, not by seeking to limit freedom but by working to see that more people are prepared to protect their family and their community.

We understand the anger. We know why some want to give the government more power. But history shows that the government’s limiting good people is not the answer. We urge lawmakers not to use tragedies to lead Texas down the road of more government but to lead us to a place of greater freedom.

We demand that Texas finally recognize constitutional carry.

Jonathan Gaspard is the policy director for the Texas Young Republicans. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

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