A Texas bill allowing gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a permit is now indefinitely stalled after a pro-gun activist advocated for legislation by stalking state lawmakers – even appearing at their homes. Dennis Bonnen announced plans to abandon the "constitutional carry" bill after activist Chris McNutt appeared at his doorstep and at the homes of two other lawmakers.
McNutt, executive director of the nonprofit Texas Gun Rights, was reportedly outraged the bill failed to advance quickly through the legislature. He posted a series of rants to his group's Facebook page complaining about the legislative inaction. He followed these posts with videos of himself visiting the neighborhoods of two Republican state lawmakers, Reps. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock and Four Price of Amarillo.
Friday, Bonnen called McNutt's actions "gutless intimidation tactics."
"One fringe organization's leader disturbingly traveled over 700 miles in 24 hours just to visit the homes of lawmakers – Well, knowing that members were hundreds of miles away in our Capitol, while wives and children were alone, "Bonnen said in a statement.
McNutt's actions seem to have rumbled several state lawmakers who now say they no longer plan to move forward with the controversial gun bill.
House Bill 357 would allow gun owners to carry a pistol, either openly or concealed, without permission. In February, the chairman of the chairman of Texas' Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Poncho Nevrez, said he planned to hold a hearing on the bill before the end of the legislative session. In light of recent events, however, Nevárez says he has reconsidered.
McNutt claims Bonnen is guilty of "fabricating a media hit" against him and other grassroots advocates across Texas.
"If politicians like Speaker Dennis Bonnen think they can show up at the doorsteps of Second Amendment supporters and make promises to win votes in the election season, they should not be surprised when we show up in their neighborhoods to insist they simply "
Grassroots activists are largely driving the constitutional carry movement
There has been a wave of so-called constitutional carry or" permit-less carry ", according to Dallas Morning News. "Laws sweeping across the US in recent years. The law allows gun owners to carry firearms, concealed or not, anywhere in the public without the prior permission or special training.
As many as 20 states have taken measures to roll back restrictions on gun ownership. South Dakota became the latest state to enact such a law earlier this year, and now allows its citizens to carry weapons without permission. Lawmakers in both Kentucky and Oklahoma advanced measures that would remove requirements for permissions and training in February.
According to The Trace, a nonprofit news site that exclusively covers guns and gun violence, local grassroots activists in each state are largely driving the move to expand concealed carry rights.
In the view of many pro-gun rights activists, any limitation on the gun owner's right to carry firearms, either in public or private, is a clear violation of the Second Amendment. Lobbying successes for constitutional carry legislation have empowered pro-gun rights to such an extent that their lobbying efforts have even begun to eclipse those of the National Rifle Association. The Trace's Adam Weinstein explains:
While the nation's largest gun lobby champions the latest bills in its press releases, local lobbyists who take NRA's absolutist rhetoric at value find themselves chafing at its corporate model of working hand-in-hand with establishment of politicians
The resulting friction has fed into the upheaval taking place within the gun politics (and American conservatism as a whole) since the rise of the Tea Party, which has left the NRA often followed, rather than steering, the emboldened extremes of its coalition. Activists in several states told The Trace that the NRA – which did not respond to requests for comment for this story – has not helped their cause. In one state, they point to direct evidence that the NRA has undercut their proposals.
The efforts of pro-gun activists are starting to bear fruit. Prior to 2010, only two states allowed concealed guns in public spaces without permissions or specified training. Now, more than a dozen have constitutional carry laws on the books. But as state lawmakers made clear this week, Texas will probably not join their number any time soon