Standing up for liberty at the Alamo is Texas tradition
Lawful carry of firearms is a fundamental right that must be protected
By Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
AUSTIN — The last time hundreds of Texans showed up at the Alamo with rifles, they were hailed as heroes in their stand against a tyrannical government.
Texas — and Texans — have changed a lot since then. But the fundamental, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms has not.
The main goal of today’s rally at the Alamo is simple: The peaceful exercise of a right we fear losing. It is legal, after all, to carry a long gun in Texas. Despite that fact, there are those who would claim otherwise under color of law. Today’s demonstration is expression of that right, plain and simple.
It should be noted, San Antonio’s city council has declared they will not enforce the city’s unconstitutional ordinance prohibiting any person other than police or security officers from carrying a firearm within the city limits at a public event. They know they would lose any challenge to an arrest made under such city ordinance in a court of law. So in that respect, today’s Second Amendment exercise has already been successful.
But a more subtle goal of today’s gathering is one largely been lost in the media hype surrounding it, and that is the effect such a rally might have to help normalize the sight of an armed citizen.
The fact that many Texans only feel comfortable with police carrying guns isn’t normal, historically speaking. Armed citizens shouldn’t be alarming in a free society.
It wasn’t always so. I can remember bringing an old, Civil War-era muzzle-loader I had gotten for Christmas to Hartman Junior High School in Houston for show and tell. Instead of causing a lock-down and a S.W.A.T. response, it elicited the ohhs and ahhs of other kids who got an impromptu lesson in gun safety and history. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more normal than that.
By agreeing to speak to this rally at the Alamo today, I am doing what I think is best to ease the fear that has gripped our state and our nation when it comes to guns. Texans — and Americans in general — shouldn’t be defined by our fears but by our freedoms. We are stronger than that.
JERRY PATTERSON was re-elected to a third term as Texas Land Commissioner in 2010 and is responsible for managing state assets, investments and mineral rights worth billions of dollars on behalf of the schoolchildren of Texas. He is a retired U.S. Marine, Vietnam veteran and former state senator.