Starting Jan. 1, a law passed at the beginning of 2015 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott will allow licensed handgun owners to carry their weapons in plain view on the street and other public places. The only exclusions are bars, local businesses which decide to prohibit such display, courts and sporting arenas. While some religious institutions decided to ban firearms in their churches — like the Catholic Diocese of Dallas did in its 75 churches — others, like the Baptist Church, show no objection to the display of firearms.
Paradoxically, the state has no restriction whatsoever against carrying larger weapons in public, like AK-47 or AR-15 assault rifles, though very few citizens dare to do so. But, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, more than 900,000 people are licensed to carry handguns and starting tomorrow, they can wield them in public.
The new law is astonishing proof of the gun culture that prevails in the greater part of our neighboring country and in the case of Texas, will bring back to life scenes from the Wild West of the 19th century, when the absence of law and state institutions made it necessary to carry a gun for self-defense.
While Texas police authorities say the vast majority of those licensed to carry pistols and revolvers are “respectful citizens of the law,” there’s no getting around the simple fact that handguns are made to kill people and that as a consequence, carrying them in plain view will lead to an increase in homicide in situations of real or supposed self-defense as the new law legitimizes citizens’ predisposition to use bullets to settle conflicts.
The public display of firearms also weakens the state’s obligation to protect its citizens’ lives, integrity and property.
Despite the clear relationship between this culture’s focus on guns — symbolized by a return to the law of the jungle and the barbaric quick draw — and the number of gun-related homicides committed in our neighboring country, much higher than in Canada or Europe, it seems the majority of American society and its institutions refuse to accept this connection and continue to be surprised when someone who is unbalanced perpetrates a massacre in a school, temple, mall or other public space.
The new law forces one to assume that the public display of firearms in Texas will only encourage more shooting incidents and jeopardize citizens’ security. In conclusion, it’s downright scary that in a place with such widespread and manifest racism like Texas, people are willing to further divide the population, with unarmed blacks and Latinos on one side and Anglo-Saxons with guns on their waists on the other.
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