For nearly 20 years, Bill Carter of Fort Worth has championed Texans right to carry handguns.This week, his next-door neighbor was armed when police shot him dead.As a Texas House Republican and co-sponsor of the 1995 concealed-handgun law, Carter had to answer hundreds of questions that began, What if ... .If a law officer says put down the gun, you put it down, Carter said this week by phone from a Hill Country vacation.Carter, 84, wasnt home early Tuesday when Jerry Waller, 72, was shot in his garage.Police say a 23-year-old rookie officer went to the house after a burglar alarm went off across Havenwood Lane North in Woodhaven.The whole message in Texas for those licensed to carry a handgun wherever they go away from home is that its for self-defense only and you dont just go walking and waving it around, Carter said.Its hard to believe Jerry would hold onto his gun. Even in his own home, you dont hold it. You hold out your ID or your permit.In the original police radio call, officer Benjamin Hanlon is heard asking for help: He wouldnt put the gun down. He pointed it at [officer Richard] Hoeppner. Hoeppner fired.Then and now, some police oppose expanded gun rights because they fear such confusion.(Fort Worth is an exception. Carter convinced the late police Chief Thomas Windham that more good than bad would come of the new law.)Carter said if hed been home, he wouldnt have gone out armed.But the original author of the law, now-Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, disagreed.I would get my gun and walk out to see, he said.He might have been shot.Did he raise the gun in any way that seemed threatening? If he did, then the officer did what theyre supposed to do, said Patterson, a former state senator now challenging Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the March primary.Patterson said Wallers death seems like a tragic confluence of several sets of circumstances.If you dont disarm, then that officer has a right to disarm you, Patterson said.In your garage OK, that means youre not breaking the law. But if you dont disarm, then youre dead.Direct any complaints to Austin.