News analysis
Don't mess with Texas
Barbara Kralis, RenewAmerica analyst
January 6, 2020

Following the recent shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, which left three dead, including the perpetrator, USA Today ran a hysteria-inducing commentary that said,
    Jack Wilson is a hero alright. It took him only six seconds to kill a gunman at a Texas church, saving countless lives.

    Unfortunately, that kind of split-second heroism has been turned into a PR tool by gun advocates.

    The reality of Wilson's heroism is a lot more complex. He wasn't just an ordinary parishioner, as gun advocates may want you to believe. The church's volunteer security team member is a firearms instructor, gun range owner and former reserve deputy with a local sheriff's department, according to a New York Times detailed account.

    In other words, he's exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm. But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas.

    And that's terrifying.
To the terrified writer of the above widely disseminated commentary, I would say it's likely that every one of the licensed gun carriers in the Texas church shooting was well qualified to be carrying their gun and posed no "terrifying" threat to society as suggested.

Here are important facts the writer overlooked.

In Texas, you can't get LTC (license to carry a gun) without FIRST going thru a long 12-hour, one-day course taught by Texas police from one of the many police academies in Texas. (This training is very much like military training.) After you've gone through the course on Texas gun laws, you must THEN pass a 25-page written test. THEN you must qualify at the school's professional gun shooting range, under the supervision of Texas police officers.

You must bring your own gun and ammo that you want to be licensed and qualified for. (If you are qualifying on semi-automatic guns as Mitch and I did, you must bring empty ammo magazines, not pre-loaded magazines.)

Candidates in Texas are required to hand-load their gun or their 9-round magazine on command, without fumbling, and then the police captain hangs up individual shooting targets and pulls them all on overhead wire trolleys out to far distances for qualifying, and then candidates are told to discharge all rounds as fast as they can into their own target.

After the candidates are done firing, the captain pulls all targets back to the front and each target is rated for accuracy. A new target is hung up on the moving wire trolleys and you start over again – and again – 20 times.

Besides the written test, you must pass this shooting target test. Some folks don't pass.

This Texas gun class, required by Texas law for everyone who wants to carry, is not for wimps. I was age 66 and Mitch, who taught me everything about all kinds of guns, was 76 when we qualified with flying colors. Mitch had just been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer six months earlier, and I had just had my first of two complete hip replacements. Sitting through the 12 hours of classroom instruction on Texas law was not without discomfort for us seniors. But we did our best not to show it.

We had a huge class of 29 candidates at the Texas police academy, and everyone was over 65 years of age except for one married couple (and she and I were the only women in the class). One senior man was in his 70s and in a wheelchair 24/7. He was very proficient in his shooter trials.

The Texas police instructor was very moved when he walked into the classroom and saw all of us seniors, locked and loaded, waiting on him. He thanked us profusely for coming to qualify. He said we all would be a wonderful help to Texas law enforcement and that all law enforcers were grateful for our interest in being of service to Texas society.

We arrived at 7 am that morning for class, and we got home after midnight that same long day. Every five years, a Texas licensed gun carrier must renew the Texas law classroom work, but he or she does not need to qualify at the range again, nor take a written test.

So, to the wimpy writer of the commentary cited above, I say that every one of the licensed gun carriers in the Texas church shooting was likely very qualified to be carrying their gun and posed no particular threat to society, certainly not one that could responsibly be labeled "terrifying."

When I owned a restaurant and lived in my home state of New York in 1974, I carried a gun there for protection while carrying money, daily. All I needed to do so was to sign a paper at the county courthouse and pay $10.00. No testing whatsoever. Texas State laws are much more effective in ensuring that gun carriers are well trained and responsible. It helps that gun carriers in Texas tend to consider owning a gun a sacred constitutional right and feel a duty to help others.

Barb Kralis, Texan for 43 years

© Barbara Kralis

RenewAmerica analyst Barbara Kralis also writes a column for RenewAmerica.


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