The Texas Legislature passed a bill to allow open carry of handguns in an area during the week following a Declaration of Disaster.
“I’ve been saying for years that all the good citizens need to arm themselves, because all the bad ones already have,” said Sheriff Mike Griffis. “There’s not enough peace officers in the state of Texas or in the country to take care of large disasters like that really and truly. I just don’t see that it’ll create that big of a problem.”
Representative Brooks Landgraf and Griffis say allowing rightful owners of firearms to take their weapons with them is common sense. As a matter of fact, leaving it behind may mean it gets into the wrong hands. Griffis says with a lack of peace officers in Texas, it will be beneficial exemption to an already existing gun law.
“This just gives an opportunity for somebody who legally owns a firearm to take it with them temporarily in the event of a natural disaster,” explained Landgraf. “And the real purpose behind the law is to make sure that those weapons don’t get in the wrong hands if they’re left behind if there is a mandatory evacuation.”
Landgraf says it was an effort following the catastrophic damages of Hurricane Harvey.
“Across party lines, at least of the Texas House of Representatives, it felt like this was a common sense measure. And really we saw some instances where we needed to have this in place in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey back in 2017, and so that’s where the idea came from.”
However, not everyone is on board. Chair of Midland County Democrats, Magaret Williams, says it will only add chaos to an already chaotic situation. She has seen first-hand disasters bring out the worst in victims.
“The mothers are yelliing at their kids, the kids are saying, ‘Mama never yelled at me before.’ It’s tough. I’ve seen it! They didn’t have guns, but they had baseball bats and they take out their frustration on anybody who’s in their way.”
The bill has been sent to Governor Abbott for approval.