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Concealed Carry Report from the State Fair of Texas

Last weekend I went to the State Fair of Texas and had a great time.  It’s the 126th year of the fair itself and Big Tex is celebrating his 60th birthday.  Of course, there were some new novelty fried foods (Fried Lemonade, Fried Frito Pie, Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll, Fried Nutter Butters) for sale.  I can tell you that the fried Nutter Butter cookies are darn worthwhile.

As for packing iron onsite, prior to the trip I went to the Fair’s official website FAQ page where I read this:

Concealed Handgun Policy
A person holding a valid Texas Concealed Handgun License (or valid CHL from a reciprocating state) is permitted to enter onto State Fair property with his/her concealed handgun; provided, however, that CHL holders will not be permitted to carry their concealed handgun inside the Cotton Bowl Stadium, a facility defined under Texas Penal Code 46.035 as “the premises where a high school, collegiate or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place.” Note that the Fair does not provide lockers for the storage or checking of weapons for CHL holders, so if you plan to attend a game or event in the Cotton Bowl, please secure your weapon at home or in your vehicle prior to entering the fairgrounds. We want the Fair to be a fun and safe experience.

So properly armed with knowledge (and a pistol) I was a tad concerned when I saw that every patron entering was being ‘wanded’ by security guards.  I fell into a line at the gate but I had my permit in hand.  When it was my turn, I simply showed it to the guard and she smiled and said to show it to the policeman inside the gate as she waved me on.  The cop was sitting in an elevated box overlooking the gate.  I went ahead a did as I was told saying to him, “The guard said I should show this to you” as I handed him my permit and drivers license.  He looked at them for a moment and handed them back with a “Thank you”.   I went on and had a great day without giving it another thought.  In retrospect, I probably didn’t need to show the cop ‘my papers’.  It’s not like the security guard radioed him to let him know to look for me.  I didn’t feel hassled, everyone was polite and it didn’t take any extra time.

The only other bit that I’d pass on would be: the usual rules apply while at the fair so don’t partake of any adult beverages while carrying and some of the carnival rides can be rough [like the ‘porch swing in a giant slingshot’ and the ‘vertical centrifuge’; frankly I’m surprised the midway isn’t littered with empty shoes flung off of the riders] so maybe a retention holster is in order depending on how much you enjoy thrill rides.


Would You Train at a Place Named ‘Crossfire’?

Crossfire Training – Concealed Handgun License Classes

I have to admit that the first thing I thought when I saw this was, “In a crossfire is the last place I’d want to be.”

Here’s Google’s definition:


noun /ˈkrôsˌfīr/
crossfires, plural

Gunfire from two or more directions passing through the same area, often killing or wounding noncombatants

However, from the descriptions on their website they look like a pretty good outfit that covers all bases, makes things convenient, and puts forth extra effort to elevate the class beyond what may sometimes feel like being stuck in detention.  It certainly can’t be the worst I’ve ever attended.*  My CHL doesn’t expire for a while, but when I need to renew maybe I’ll make the drive to check them out just because they piqued my interest on whether they deliver on what they promise.

[* I need to write about that class sometime.]

Texas College Campus Concealed Carry Update

Via David Codrea at The War on Guns:

SB354 Texas Campus carry is scheduled for a vote in the Criminal Justice committee tomorrow [3/31/11]. No question that it will pass and be heard on the Senate floor. Rumor control has it that one senator will offer a floor amendment to change the bill to require private institutions to allow CHL carry. This senator is against the bill and is trying to bring problems to it on the floor. In any event carry in college buildings looks like a good bet.

Click here to read it all

This is good news!  Having state-certified Good Guys on campus is an effective deterrent against criminal assaults.  The ‘invisible line at the curb’ strategy hasn’t really worked so far.

Gun Free Zone = Defenseless Victim Zone

Until unrestricted Constitutional Carry is implemented (someday), this is a step forward. If you haven’t already contacted your state reps  to voice your support of concealed carry on college campus, please do so.

For more info on the issue, visit ConcealedCampus.org

And join the Texas State Rifle Association while you’re at it too.

Concealed Carry Permit holder helped subdue Giffords’ shooter

A concealed carry permit holder was one of those brave citizens that tackled the lone whack job that shot Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed and wounded many others.  Joe Zamudio was leaving a Walgreen’s pharmacy when he heard gunshots… and ran toward them to see if he could help.

Update: (found the Fox interview)

Update 2: had to change links; try this one to see an interview

Also see interview with Geraldo Rivera here. [link is defunct]



Please note that Joe was just one of the several heroes on the scene.  Patricia Maisch ran to disarm the assassin by grabbing the magazine.  Roger Salzgeber and Col. Bill Badger also tackled and held the shooter down.  Col. Badger [74 years old!] actually suffered a gunshot wound to the head before taking action.  All are true citizen heroes.

I bring attention to Joe Zamudio primarily because most of the national media, judging by reporting on similar previous stories, will likely downplay or ignore the fact that he is a concealed permit holder.

Here is a man that heard gunshots and ran towards them in an effort to help however he could.  He did this without knowing the situation or who was in danger.  Arriving on scene he recognized that the criminal was no longer a threat and provided assistance in restraining the assassin.  Several things should be noted:

  • He did not draw a firearm and charge into an unknown situation.  That would have added to the confusion, possibly leading to him being identified as a second gunman.
  • He was aware that there was a crowd and recognized the danger of hitting bystanders.
  • A person other than the assassin was in control of the firearm when Joe arrived.  He did not misidentify the criminal and fire on an innocent.
  • He did not act as “judge, jury and executioner”.
  • He has stated (on the Fox and Friends interview) that he has no special training for such situations.

Please keep these in mind as in the wake of this tragedy, the blood dancers wail and moan about the need to ban guns, ammo, and full capacity magazines (the shooter used a 31 round mag in his Glock).  The gun banners will say that only cops have the training and ability to use firearms and stop criminals.  This incident highlights that citizens are capable and the cops are always second responders.  Here we have a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun and it was the bad guy who sprayed bullets into the crowd.  It’s not the implement; it’s the criminal.

Do not let anyone tell you that your freedoms must be restricted because of the actions of criminals.  If the consequences of the crime of premeditated murder won’t stop a lone nut from shooting a congresswoman and into a crowd, more laws won’t stop another from doing the same.  Gun bans only create more victims.

Additional links:

American thinker asks, “Would you run towards the sound of gunfire?

Local AZ news interview of Joe

Father of slain 9 year old does not want restrictions on freedom

Pro-Gun Texas Police Dept Teaches Concealed Carry for $10

How’s this for a slice of AWESOME?

Due to a backlog of applicants waiting to take the Texas state required Concealed Handgun License (CHL) course, the Oak Ridge North Police Department (just North of Houston) was given permission by the City Council to teach the class.   God Bless Texas!

From The Courier of Montgomery County:

The demand for concealed handgun licenses is on the upswing, and a local police department is meeting the need to teach people how to exercise their right responsibly.

The trend is widespread across Texas, and most people are attributing the increase to the presidential election of Barack Obama because people started fearing their right to bear arms may be limited under the new administration.

Montgomery County is no different than the rest of the state. The state granted 1,892 CHLs to county residents between Sept. 1, 2007, and Aug. 31, 2008. For the same period from 2008 to 2009, with two months to go, 2,464 have been granted to residents, which is a 30 percent increase.

The Oak Ridge North Police Department started receiving questions from residents earlier this year about where they could receive CHL classes. In an effort to help them exercise their right, the ORN City Council gave the Police Department permission to begin classes.Four residents attended the September class, and 10 completed the October class. The next class runs Nov. 12-14 and costs $10. Students are required to provide their own handgun and be familiar with gun safety, maintenance and operation.

Oak Ridge North Police Chief Andy Walters recognizes that offering the course is not common practice among police departments, but to him, it makes perfect sense.

“I have a deep-seated belief that people should exercise their right responsibly, and who better to help them do it than the police department?”
Walters said.

A city council gives their pro-gun police chief and his department the go ahead to teach concealed carry to the public for $10?  Where else in the world will you hear that?!

Anyone supporting this just might want to send a ‘Thank You’ note to the Oak Ridge North City Council and Police Department (click the links for contact info).

Changes to Texas CHL Law – Showing ID to Cops

As of September 1st, 2009 several laws regarding concealed handgun licenses go into effect.  One of these changes eliminates the penalty for failing to show a licensee’s CHL to a police officer when identification is requested.

The Houston Comical has a story about this:

A small change in concealed handgun laws has created safety concerns among Houston police officers who work the streets.

The new law removes the penalty for failing to show a police officer a concealed handgun license (CHL) when stopped by an officer who asks for identification. The law went into effect Sept. 1. Previously, if a person was carrying a hidden weapon and failed to present the CHL, they could lose the license for one year.

Houston police officers suggested that licensed handgun holders continue to show their credentials, even if not required to by the law. It will defuse any potential problems or miscommunications, they said.

In response to the article:

Yes, the penalty is removed but CHL holders still have a legal requirement to show their ‘other’ license if a police officer requests their ID.

I have spoken personally with a Texas Highway Patrol officer regarding this (at night on the side of a road, actually).  He told me that the annotation to your ‘file’ when pulled up on his computer simply places an asterisk next to your name. The asterisk notation is used to indicate that more information on the person exists. Unfortunately, the asterisk is not only used to identify CHL holders, but people with outstanding warrants too.

Somewhat of a conflict, right?  It’s hard to fault an officer for having a gut defensive reaction to seeing that ‘*‘ next to a name.  They do come in contact with the worst of our society very regularly and the cops want to go home safe every night.  How would you react if something flagged the person you are about to have contact with is either one of the safest people in town or one of the most dangerous?

With that in mind, I suggest that when complying with the requirement to inform the officer of your CHL, you include this specific verbiage: “I have a permit.”

Do not say: “I have a gun.”

It’s just good manners.