A Texas Democrat on Thursday warned of an onslaught of “Wild West pimp-style” gun carrying if Republicans get their way.
“Roll on into any place you want and buy a gun under this provision and walk around in whatever way you want, no training, no understanding, Wild West pimp-style,” state representative Ann Johnson said in opposition to House Bill 1927. She was particularly concerned about lightening punishments for trespassing while carrying a gun.
On the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, Johnson predicted that lowering the punishment for inadvertently carrying a gun onto private property would have dire consequences. She complained that small-business owners may have to confront non-felon “pimps” flaunting their guns.
“That pimp can roll into whatever small business is in your community with their stable of girls and they can flaunt it,” she said. “And if you don’t have the courage to stand up and say, ‘Mr. Pimp with your stable of girls, I really don’t want you in here in my business in this manner.’ If you don’t want to confront them, you got to call the police and say, ‘Guess what’s going on in here.'”
Texas Republicans are seeking to reduce the punishment for carrying a gun on private property where it is prohibited by a posted sign, bringing that offense down from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor. It would remain illegal to carry a gun on private property with no-gun signs posted. If the carrier is informed of the no-gun policy and still refuses to leave, the offense would then increase to a Class A misdemeanor.
The proposal only applies to Texas residents without a disqualifying criminal record. Felons, those adjudicated mentally ill, and those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence are already ineligible to legally carry a gun. Johnson and other Democrats oppose the move because they believe the lesser misdemeanor is not enough of a deterrent.
“The burden is shifted to that small business, to then confront that individual and say: ‘Please leave. We don’t want your weapon in here,'” Johnson said.
The state house passed the bill Friday, sending it to the state senate.