Texas lobbyists getting concealed handgun permits to speed access to Capitol building

David Paulin
In Texas, veteran lobbyists in Austin, the capital, are scrambling to get concealed handgun permits -- all so they can speed around security lines at the Capitol Building.

It could only happen in Texas: People with concealed handgun permits recently have become members of a privileged class -- those waved around airport-style security checkpoints that recently went up at the Capitol Building. The checkpoints came on the heels of a knife-wielding wacko inside the building, and a crazy man who popped off a few shots with his handgun outside the building.


"Because of a scare with one crazy guy with a gun, the only way to get quick access to the Capitol will be to carry a gun," Brad Shields, a veteran lobbyist, told the Austin American-Statesman.


"During (a legislative) session, I'm in the Capitol four to six hours a day and make six to 10 trips a day into and out of the building. If I have to wait in line, I could miss a vote or a debate. If I can't get in quickly, I'll just have to go to the Capitol and stay all day."


According to the Statesman, "dozens, perhaps hundreds, of the (state's) nearly 1,500 registered lobbyists...are scrambling to get state licenses to allow them to carry concealed handguns. Most don't want to pack a pistol, though they legally could, but want the license to get into the State Capitol quickly during the legislative session that starts in January."


The paper reported that "some lobbyists are grousing that the state did not simply issue 'frequent visitor' badges to lobbyists and others, with a permit fee to cover the costs and a background check to satisfy security concerns. Other states do (that)" Shields said. "But Texas chose to do it this way.... I'm afraid we're probably going to become the butt of many a joke because of it."


One of the state's most prominent concealed handgun carriers is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who packs a Strum, Ruger semi-automatic .380 with a laser site. Last February, Perry shot and killed a coyote with the gun while jogging one morning with his daughter's Labrador. Perry said the coyote was threatening the dog.


In response, Connecticut-based Strum, Ruger & Co. Inc. recently issued a special edition of the Strum, Ruger model Perry packs. As the
Statesman reported: "It's emblazoned with the words 'Coyote Special' on one side of the slide and 'A True Texan' on the other side. On the top of the pistol resides an etching of a coyote howling at the moon and a Texas Star.

"Even the packaging displays a stamp that says it is for sale to Texans only. (Likely not enforceable.)"





In Texas, veteran lobbyists in Austin, the capital, are scrambling to get concealed handgun permits -- all so they can speed around security lines at the Capitol Building.

It could only happen in Texas: People with concealed handgun permits recently have become members of a privileged class -- those waved around airport-style security checkpoints that recently went up at the Capitol Building. The checkpoints came on the heels of a knife-wielding wacko inside the building, and a crazy man who popped off a few shots with his handgun outside the building.


"Because of a scare with one crazy guy with a gun, the only way to get quick access to the Capitol will be to carry a gun," Brad Shields, a veteran lobbyist, told the Austin American-Statesman.


"During (a legislative) session, I'm in the Capitol four to six hours a day and make six to 10 trips a day into and out of the building. If I have to wait in line, I could miss a vote or a debate. If I can't get in quickly, I'll just have to go to the Capitol and stay all day."


According to the Statesman, "dozens, perhaps hundreds, of the (state's) nearly 1,500 registered lobbyists...are scrambling to get state licenses to allow them to carry concealed handguns. Most don't want to pack a pistol, though they legally could, but want the license to get into the State Capitol quickly during the legislative session that starts in January."


The paper reported that "some lobbyists are grousing that the state did not simply issue 'frequent visitor' badges to lobbyists and others, with a permit fee to cover the costs and a background check to satisfy security concerns. Other states do (that)" Shields said. "But Texas chose to do it this way.... I'm afraid we're probably going to become the butt of many a joke because of it."


One of the state's most prominent concealed handgun carriers is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who packs a Strum, Ruger semi-automatic .380 with a laser site. Last February, Perry shot and killed a coyote with the gun while jogging one morning with his daughter's Labrador. Perry said the coyote was threatening the dog.


In response, Connecticut-based Strum, Ruger & Co. Inc. recently issued a special edition of the Strum, Ruger model Perry packs. As the
Statesman reported: "It's emblazoned with the words 'Coyote Special' on one side of the slide and 'A True Texan' on the other side. On the top of the pistol resides an etching of a coyote howling at the moon and a Texas Star.

"Even the packaging displays a stamp that says it is for sale to Texans only. (Likely not enforceable.)"