Texas (AP) -- The Texas House
approved a batch of bills Saturday to further soften gun laws that were already
among the country's most firearms-friendly, allowing college students to carry
handguns in class, putting potentially armed marshals in public schools and
exempting the state from any future federal bans on assault rifles,
high-capacity magazines or universal background checks.
Texas has exquisite timing: with all that pro-gun legislation coming at the same time that the NRA hosted the world's snazziest gun extravaganza in Houston, it was sure to surround itself with tens of thousands of Second Amendmenters who stood their ground on the nation's gun issues along with some opportunists straight out of a mockumentary:
Nine acres of exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center in
Houston show off guns, scopes, grips, holsters, targets, magazines, cabinets,
safes and antiques.
And that's just the beginning.
Zombie Industries sells $90 bleeding zombie targets. The human-scale targets can take thousands of rounds, and come in terrorist, Nazi, alien and zombie kangaroo varieties.
Added to holster bras and, well, you get the picture: it was a
show to tell the world that America was "gun country" and that Texas
is its capital.
But for all its bravado, Texas looks now looks like the stronghold of isolationism: of then 5 million members boasted by the NRA, most of them live in Texas. And most of them idolize isolationists like Glenn Beck. True, some form of revolt is in the air, but how many states are seriously considering it? How many are so rabidly pro-gun that they are willing to eradicate federal statutes?
What About The Children?
In a horrific accident Tuesday that shocked a rural area far removed from the national debate over gun control, the boy had killed his 2-year-old sister, Caroline, with a single shot to the chest.
The recent incident of 5-year-old Kristian and 2-year-old Caroline shocked the nation, not because so much because of the incident itself, but because it woke up to the fact that, for years, a gun manufacturer had been marketing guns for children. We've all seen children pictured with guns - even assault rifles - but assumed those guns were the property of their parents. "My First Rifle", manufactured by gun maker, Keystone, has been around for a number of years. It even markets to small girls with guns in stereotypical pink.
The NRA shrugged off the incident as a fluke, since "guns are passed down
from generation to generation" in rural America and Keystone posturing as
an advocate for gun safety.
But urban America is not buying it: the outcry has been horrendous, with Sandy Hook giving everyone visions of even younger assailants gunning down classmates. Try as it might, America cannot wrap its psyche around a child getting a gun as a gift ... at the age of four.
And in Texas, where "everybody carries a gun" (or at least seems to), guns for children seem as natural as toys.
Rick Perry - The Pride Of Gary Cass
"You can't be Christian and not own a gun," has been the rallying cry of sorts for Pastor Gary Cass, who, when following up his statement said that it would definitely go well in Texas. This is an aspect that governor Rick Perry focused on in his appearance at the NRA show-of-strength when he fired off an assault rifle. His appearance, in fact, gave the show a religious imprimatur: ever since he broadcast his Fundamentalist religiosity (along with his blatant homophobia) with a sponsored "prayer rally" in 2011, he has been the darling of the Christian Right.
He has also been the darling of Texas secessionists: his rumblings of revolt have always been heard in the distance, but the current gun debate has made his rumblings into a rather potent roar.
Beyond Glenn Beck
The gun debate has taken the country beyond the conspiracy theories of Glenn Beck: yes, Beck epitomizes the isolationism Texas is leaning towards, but Beck's hunker-down attitude is not what Americans see in the resolute state of Texas.
They see outright, armed revolt.