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Texas CHL

I survived the concealed handgun course. If you ever need to get a Texas CHL or any sort of firearms training, I highly recommend Ross and Dottie Bransford over at CHL-Texas.com (warning: embedded sound). Ross is a very interesting character. To describe him I’d use all these phrases: successful businessman, red-blooded Texan, anti-liberal, Vietnam veteran, ex-drill instructor, and somebody who’s very passionate and knowledgeable about firearms and law.

Their class was very informative, interesting and fun, but quite a bit to pack into a 10 hour sitting. I learned quite a bit about the history of Texas which was set as a foundation to explain why gun laws in the state are what they are today. We talked about many firearm, legal, human behavior things I was maybe subconsiously aware of but didn’t really think about.

We were also gently ribbed about our “liberal” thoughts and how our generation is all too willing to give up freedoms given to us by the constitution. Basically, you have the right to live even if it means taking another person’s life. Many examples were made of the liberal-ness of Travis county, the Austin American-Statesman (and the media in general), and Texas prosecutors. We went through the Texas penal code and various scenarios to show how they can be interpreted. There’s some truly screwed up laws relating to guns and self defense.

Also in the penal code is a section that says a peace officer can call upon a citizen to help him carry out his duties (think “forming a sheriff’s posse”) and the citizen must obey. The citizen takes on all responsibilities and authority of the officer, BUT the citizen can still be slapped with a civil suit, and if the citizen injures or kills a bystander, they can be arrested and convicted! Welcome to Texas.

I’ve been a gun owner for all my life. I haven’t kept track of gun laws and I was surprised at what was being passed through legislature. Now that I have to follow these laws closer than I ever have before, it’s certainly got my attention to stand up for my rights as a gun owner and individual. I did some browsing around on NRA’s website and found a page where they keep track of current legislative and news items that applies to Texas. Most interesting to me (which Ross mentioned) is proposed “Castle doctrine” legislature. I definately want to see this to pass.

Currently, Texas has “duty to retreat” provisions which means a person is not authorized to use deadly force if a reasonable person would have escaped/retreated — including in your own home — unless there is immediate risk to protect yourself or to prevent things like aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, and robbery. More, the code says “The fact that conduct is justified under this chapter does not abolish or impair any remedy for the conduct that is available in a civil suit.” This means, if I kill somebody in self defense the dead asshole’s family can sue me for bankrupting them because of the expense of their defense. The “castle doctrine” bill would fix both of these. (Hopefully, if it’s not gutted).

My interest is certainly piqued, I have a lot more reading to do.

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