Concealed Handgun Article in Today's Austin American Statesman


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King
December 31, 2002, 10:42 AM
This interesting article was in this morning's Austin American Statesman (Austin Texas). Williamson County is basically a high tech suburb of Austin and home of Dell Computer Company.

http://www.austin360.com/statesman/editions/tuesday/metro_state_3.html



Williamson's a top pistol-packin' place
Suburbanites, whites lead way in licenses for concealed guns
FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Williamson County has more concealed-handgun licenses per capita than most other Texas counties, ranking 10th among the 35 most populous counties, according to an analysis by the Houston Chronicle published Sunday.

The analysis of state records shows that many of the areas with the highest frequency of concealed-handgun licenses are relatively peaceful suburbs, a contradiction to the stereotype of rough-and-tumble areas with high gun ownership.

Galveston, Montgomery and Brazoria counties near Houston have the most licensed gun holders per capita among counties with at least 100,000 residents. Smith in East Texas and McLennan near Waco round out the top five. Travis County is 17th.

When smaller counties are added to the mix, Comal has the state's highest rate of concealed-weapon permits, with nearly one of every 12 adults licensed to carry.

The higher frequency of gun licenses in Williamson County could foster public safety because criminals would be less likely to commit crimes where they know more people are armed, said Capt. Randy Traylor of the Williamson County sheriff's department.

Traylor said having more legal guns on the street does not raise concerns for officer safety.

"If the people are law-abiding citizens who have the right to have them, it doesn't affect us at all," Traylor said.

Since Texas began allowing residents to obtain licenses to carry concealed handguns in 1995, the Department of Public Safety has issued more than 220,000 permits. The prototypical license holder is a middle-age suburban or rural white man. White men hold 165,000, or 74 percent, of all the licenses, followed by white women with 37,766. Combined, whites, who make up 52 percent of the state's population, have 91 percent of the gun licenses.

Slightly more than one of every 100 adults in Texas can legally carry a concealed pistol. In Williamson County, the ratio is 1.6 permits for every 100 adults for a total of 2,699 permits. Travis County has 5,989 permits or one for every 100 adults. The ratio is three of every 100 adults in Galveston, Montgomery and Brazoria counties.

The relatively low violent crime totals in those areas raises the question of whether guns are making the cities safer or whether they were safe before concealed guns were allowed.

"If you ask a gun owner why they carry, they will tell you it's for protection," said Dave Smith, founder and president of Texans for Gun Safety. "Protection from whom? I'm not quite sure what we're afraid of in our mid- to upper-class neighborhoods."

Kendal Hemphill, a Hill Country outdoors writer, said residents in the safe neighborhoods are not overprotective, but those in more violent neighborhoods are foolishly underprotected.

"A great many American citizens who live in high-crime areas and may actually need to defend themselves don't carry guns, legally or otherwise," Hemphill said. "There seems to be an unreasonable fear of guns among many."

Concealed-gun permit holders have generally followed gun laws. However, in the seven years the permits have been offered, the state has revoked 2,023 licenses because their holders committed certain crimes, such as felony driving while intoxicated. Others used their guns to commit crimes

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Drizzt
December 31, 2002, 11:09 AM
What difference in tine between this article, and the previous article regarding the CHL holders in League City. As a side note, having dealt with and seen the Williamson Couty Sheriff's Dept in action, I wouldn't want to try anything there, regardless of the number of CHL holders.......

Williamson County Sheriff's Dept is the last people you want catching you at anything....

Leatherneck
December 31, 2002, 11:12 AM
Williamson County has more concealed-handgun licenses per capita than most other Texas counties, ranking 10th among the 35 most populous counties, according to an analysis by the Houston Chronicle published Sunday

Seems like there are nine counties ahead of Williamson. How do they get "more than most".
TC
TFL Survivor

King
December 31, 2002, 11:24 AM
Because there are 25 "Most Populus" counties with less. The article does coincide with the Houston area article that came out a few days ago.

Concealed handgun carry is becoming more and more visible in Texas (IMHO).

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