This is one of those stories that is either a great example of American ingenuity, or crazy beyond belief. Oh well, that’s Texas for you.
Visitors to the state capitol in Austin, Texas are now required to pass through security, including metal detectors and inspections of purses, briefcases, and other bags. This is sometimes causing long delays, especially when busloads of schoolchildren are touring the building. But as usual, lobbyists have found a loophole to speed their way into the capitol. The law exempts lawmakers, state employees, and — strangely enough — any Texan with a concealed handgun license. Those people get to go through an express lane.
According to lobbyist (and former state legislator) Pat Haggerty:
Every lobbyist in Texas is going to become a card-carrying member or a gun-carrying member. We’re going to have more damn guns in here than we know what to do with. And there are some lobbyists I don’t know whether I’d trust — or trust myself if they’re around. It would certainly be a good way to do away with the competition.
But you don’t actually have to be carrying a gun to get into the fast lane, you only have to have your concealed weapon permit.
Another lobbyist, Bill Miller, arranged for his office colleagues to take an day-long training class to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. According to Miller:
Nobody I know is getting it for purposes of a gun. They are getting it strictly for purposes of expediency. … Not that I have anything against schoolchildren, but when you need to be at the Capitol, you need to be at the Capitol. You don’t need to be standing in the line. It’s hard enough to get people to talk to you, and they’re not going to talk to you if you are standing in line with a bunch of kids.
Many of the lobbyists getting a concealed weapon permit don’t even own a gun.