Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen got a stark wake-up call from a constituent this week in the form of a housecall that sent Bonnen into a tailspin. A piece of legislation introduced by State Representative Jonathan Stickland that would have allowed gun owners to carry handguns openly or concealed in public without a license has been withdrawn by the legislator after the Speaker called the issue “dead” on Friday.
The visitor to Bonnen’s home, Chris McNutt, is the executive director of the group Texas Gun Rights. He wanted to “speak to” Bonnen about why the bill had stalled in the Texas House — after even Stickland had acknowledged it faced an uphill battle in his own chamber.
Although some states do allow such loose gun restrictions, Texas has had its own brand of regulation that has served it well thus far. Efforts to open the state up to even more unfettered gun laws by the NRA have failed time and again as it has become increasingly obvious that the organization is primarily concerned with the sale of more guns, and not with gun safety, as it had been for much of its history.
But McNutt’s visit showed not just the Speaker but essentially everyone connected to the legislation that it appeals primarily to people unhinged enough to, well, visit politicians at their homes, rather than coming to advocate for their cause at the Capitol as normal people do. Bonnen told reporters,
If you want to talk about issues and you want to advocate, you do it in this building. You don’t do it at our residences. Threats and intimidation will never advance your issue. Their issue is dead.”
McNutt did nothing to dispel the frightening aspect of his housecall in subsequent statements:
If politicians like Speaker Dennis Bonnen think they can show up at the doorsteps of Second Amendment supporters and make promises to earn votes in the election season, they shouldn’t be surprised when we show up in their neighborhoods to insist they simply keep their promises in the legislative session.”
Thankfully, Texas State Troopers intercepted McNutt, whose name it brings me great joy to keep repeating, before he could reach Bonnen’s actual residence and potentially do him any harm.
As for Stickland, he was disappointed but unsurprised by the turn of events, and posted a video to his Facebook page that expressed his dismay at McNutt’s actions:
It’s sad that even the politicians who mostly agree with gun nuts are forced to concede that those people are, in fact, nutcases — although perhaps it will make more of them reconsider dangerous proposals like the one advanced by Rep. Stickland in the first place.
Featured image is from Wikimedia Commons.