AUSTIN – Concealed-carry law author Jerry Patterson will join other state leaders on the University of Texas campus for a panel on the future of gun laws.
Known for carrying a gun in his boot, Patterson’s trademark holster will be empty for this event. Texans are still deprived of their Second Amendment rights on college campuses.
“So there won’t be any show and tell this time,” joked Patterson, a straight-shooter when it comes to firearm freedoms.
Patterson, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, will headline the one-hour discussion on gun rights at the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival. “The Fight Over Guns” panel will take place at 4:25 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at UT’s AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.
A retired Marine and former officer in charge of a Marine Corps marksmanship training unit, Patterson will appear on the panel with Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), and Sens. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso).
In August, Patterson called upon Texas Gov. Rick Perry to add concealed carry on college campuses to the agenda of the Third Special Session of the 83rd Legislature.
“We’re not talking about classrooms full of angry gun-toting kids upset about their grades. We are talking about a fundamental, God-given natural right, that should not be abridged based upon some silly belief that rights are somehow contingent upon the location where you choose to exercise them,” Patterson said in a letter to the Governor. “Signs and policies that mandate so called gun free zones ostensibly for the sake of safety instead create target-rich environments for the twisted criminal mind.”
While Legislators were not allowed to vote on expanded Concealed Handgun Law (CHL) rights this summer, Patterson opened the door for guns to be carried in public places during his time as a Texas Legislator. Gov. George W. Bush signed Patterson’s history-making CHL bill into law in 1995.
Opponents incorrectly predicted an outbreak of Wild West shoot-outs at four-way traffic stops and a sharp increase in firearm-related killings. To the contrary: a movement toward concealed carry laws in the U.S. since that time has cut gun-related homicides by more than half.
Nationally, gun-related homicides dropped from 7 per 100,000 people in 1993 to just under 3 per 100,000 in 2011. In Texas, there were also around 3 gun-related homicides per 100,000 people in 2011, down from 8 in 1993.
“The concealed handgun law didn’t give the people of Texas a set of new freedoms, but actually restored a portion of our constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms,” Patterson said. “And the more responsible Texans who are allowed to carry their weapons — be they average citizens, school principals and yes, even college students — the safer we’ll all be.”