Training, licensing boost gun safety



State Rep. Jonathan Stickland’s argument for “constitutional carry” of handguns in Texas — no training or license required — is no better in this legislative session than it was two years ago.

The Bedford Republican was able to line up hundreds of supporters for Tuesday’s House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee hearing at which he pitched House Bill 375.

Those supporters even brought with them petitions signed by 75,000 people who urge passage of the bill.

The numbers explain why HB 375 got a committee hearing, a significant step farther than Stickland’s constitutional carry proposal accomplished in 2015.

But that’s no sign this bill has real merit. Stickland argues that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to carry a handgun without restriction.

“I don’t think the government has a right to say you have a Second Amendment right only if you take this class and pay this fee,” he said. “Right now there is no way for us to legally carry without begging the government for permission.”

But the state can reasonably restrict even constitutional rights for the public good.

The First Amendment guarantees free speech, but not slander, and freedom of the press, but not libel.

Texas must guarantee public safety. It can and should require those who carry guns to demonstrate that they know how to use them without harming innocents.

Training and licensing requirements are a reasonable way to do that.