Texas State is said to have more than 28 million people, with about 36 percent having a firearm. Out of the people with guns, it is reported that about 44 percent of them have between two to five firearms. As such, there are more than 20 million firearms which are in the custody of the citizens. Additionally, reports from gun manufacturers have shown that there are about 8,500 gun dealers vending guns directly to the individuals, being the highest number of dealers in all the states in the United States. Out of the people who own the guns, reports show that slightly more than 900,000 Texans are legally recognized as having valid concealed licenses for possessing guns (Robert 1-4). Texas has been referred to as a gun state, next to Florida with the highest number of guns. The paper, therefore, explores the gun rights in Texas.
Texas is regarded to be one of the most gun-friendly states in the country. This is because it allows people to freely carry handguns on the basis they are law-abiding and happen to be 18 years or more. An individual is also expected to have passed through training and received a permit for gun possession with the view of enhancing safety. The training can be done online through instructors who are recognized by the state. In many places within the state, open gun-carrying has been legal except in some areas where carrying of guns is completely forbidden (Robert 1-4). Other places where the carrying of firearms is completely forbidden by federal and state laws include schools and areas where the sale of alcohol makes the highest activity. The age of purchasing a rifle is normally 18, and 21 for those who wish to purchase handguns.
One of the controversial issues with the sale of guns to people in Texas is that the state does not have regulations which necessitate gun dealers to do background checks particularly prior to transferring guns to the buyers. According to Gifford Law Center for Prevention of Gun Violence, firearms dealers are required to contact a background check by liaising openly with Federal Bureau of Investigation. There are federal laws which stipulate how dealers should follow the federal laws in requiring FBI to contact the background checkups, but the lack of direct law from Texas government makes it difficult for the dealers to adhere to the federal law (Quinn 956-960). However, the Texas laws state that any individual who allows a minor to have an access to a dischargeable weapon should be accused of criminal negligence. Additionally, there is no law which states that all firearms should be locked up (Vizzard 880-888). In some instances, there is no clear law regarding the handling of guns and as such, there are exceptions for people who have guns for hunting or sports shooting. Additionally, guns which are used for self-defense are not been regulated.
Although there is a gun prohibition in schools, lawmakers enacted some regulations allowing some school districts to arm employees of the school as a result of the shootings which occurred in Connecticut. Additionally, the enacted laws allowed schools to have certified peace officers known as marshals who should carry concealed guns in case such incidences happen. Under these laws, districts are usually left to choose between having School Marshals or Guardian Plan in order to authorize some workforce in the schools to have firearms (Phillips et al., 86-89). This sparked a debate on whether teachers should be armed too as a result of the shootings which have been happening in schools.
According to critics of gun control and the existing laws, Texas laws are very lax. They have noted that the many shootings which are being experienced in Texas are because of the many loopholes which are found in the gun control laws (Quinn 957-962). The Firearms Program Attorney notes that Texas has been caught in between two decisions to make, as there is no prohibition of guns but a lot of supervising. This is because reports have shown that as long as individuals have 18 years they are able to buy a gun with much ease. The reports also have noted that any citizen within the state, if not prohibited by the Texas law, is able to acquire ammunition, rifles and reloading parts or any other types of firearms for personal safety.
Additionally, there are no exact laws revolving around giving license to carry guns as soon as they have been bought. On the other hand, for an individual to carry a handgun, it is necessary to have a permit, according to the bill passed in 2015 by the Texas Legislature (Robert 1-4). Gun owners are allowed to keep their guns in the vehicles, homes, or workplace only if their organizations normally permit them to have guns around the buildings. However, they require a license to take the firearms outside the areas. Other issues arise when a person has bought the firearm but has not understood where to carry the firearm or leave the gun in the open.
The federal laws of gun control come to effect in Texas when there is no direct guidance concerning firearms. For instance, a person who has previously been convicted of a felony is not allowed to own a gun. The firearm distributors having the federal licensees are expected to find out if an individual who is acquiring a gun has ever been convicted of a serious crime by carrying out a background check. In addition, persons who are under indictment for any offense which may lead to a jail term of not less than a year cannot be allowed to have firearms. However, if individuals who committed the crimes have completed the sentence after five years, then they are capable of possessing guns but are only allowed to keep them at home. Despite having these laws, the Texas law conflicts the Federal law in some cases. The conflict is on how many years an individual should be allowed to stay without purchasing a gun (Spitzer 51-58). The Texas state law reveals that people who happen to be convicted of felonies may have guns around their homesteads once the five years are over from the time of the sentence. It will be realized that an individual’s right to own a gun can be restored through full pardon, but this rarely happens and it is very expensive. The federal law also states that a person who is deemed to be mentally unfit cannot be allowed to own a firearm. However, the issue of mentally unfit is still debatable in the Texas Legislature.
The rights to own a gun in Texas State are progressive. This is because several amendments to laws are being undertaken and the new changes are also advanced. However, much should be done in order to align such laws with the federal laws in order to ensure proper gun control and supervision. This will help in curbing the many gun violence incidences which are being experienced in Texas.
Phillips, Charles D., Obioma Nwaiwu, Darcy K. McMaughan Moudouni, Rachel Edwards, and Szu-hsuan Lin. "When Concealed Handgun Licensees Break Bad: Criminal Convictions of Concealed Handgun Licensees in Texas, 2001–2009." American Journal of Public Health 103.1 (2013): 86-91. Print.
Quinn, Christine M. "Reforming State Laws on How Businesses Can Ban Guns: "No Guns" Signs, Property Rights, and the First Amendment." University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 50.4 (2017): 955-987. Web.
Robert Ohsfeldt, Obioma Nwaiwu, Szu-hsuan Lin, Rachel Edwards, Sara Imanpour, and Phillips Charles. "Concealed Handgun Licensing and Crime in Four States." Journal of Criminology 2015.1 (2015): 1-8. Print.
Spitzer, Robert. Guns across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print.
Vizzard, William J. "The Current and Future State of Gun Policy in the United States." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 104.4 (2015): 879-904. Web.