Bud Kennedy

To the Lege: Debate guns, but leave God out of it

Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, listens to Austin police chief Art Acevedo give testimony during a hearing where lawmakers discussed whether to legalize concealed handguns on college campuses and open carry everywhere else, Thursday, Feb. 12, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, listens to Austin police chief Art Acevedo give testimony during a hearing where lawmakers discussed whether to legalize concealed handguns on college campuses and open carry everywhere else, Thursday, Feb. 12, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) AP

Texas lawmakers debated guns for hours Thursday, which is something we find painful and they find fun.

Call it Fifty Shades of Gunmetal Grey.

But in the middle of a knotty Second Amendment debate, one lawmaker took gun passions to a new extreme.

Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, was explaining his bill extending concealed-carry privileges to state university buildings.

That’s not such a big deal. It only applies to those over 21. They can carry most places.

But Birdwell made it sound as if gun rights come from on high, and I don’t mean high in the Capitol.

Arguing that regents shouldn’t set gun rules, Birdwell said lawmakers can’t restrict “rights that are granted by God.”

Look, my Bible has lessons about self-defense.

But I can’t find where Jesus said we all get to pack a pistol.

Until now, only extremists have tried to argue we have a specific God-given right to handguns.

That sounds less like something a state senator would say and more like something Mansfield open-carry activist Kory Watkins would say.

Matter of fact, Watkins said it Thursday.

Testifying to the same Senate State Affairs Committee, Watkins said if lawmakers “go against my God-given rights, I will continue to walk around with an AK-47.”

Watkins, a Republican precinct chairman with allies in county party leadership, clearly believes he is doing the Lord’s work.

To ask whether that’s worrisome rhetoric, I turned to Washington-based Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO).

Chris Bodine of JPFO wrote back that the Bible gives us “an innate right to self-defense.”

Protection, yes. But not an unlimited right to any pistol anywhere, anytime.

Another Guns-Are-From-God lawmaker is state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford.

Last month, he told a Capitol rally the Second Amendment “doesn’t come from a government institution, a bureaucracy or a politician. It comes from God almighty.”

Texas’ permit system is fine. Expand it.

But don’t try to tell me God gave us all guns.





Bud Kennedy’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @BudKennedy

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