Area counties state's most armed (Texas)


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Oatka
December 29, 2002, 11:39 AM
In this Galveston County burg, as in other far-flung Houston suburbs, the state's rough-and-tumble image as the outspoken-est, gun-totin'-est state in the Union runs smack into the quietude of some of the most peaceful suburban neighborhoods. The League City ZIP code of 77573 has more concealed weapons licenses than any other.

Gee, ya think there is a connection? ;)

They have some some pie charts at the website, one of them broken down by race. How do they know? Is race included in the CCW license? :confused:

League City ZIP code has highest number of concealed guns

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/1717886

By ZANTO PEABODY
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle

In League City, southeast of Houston, arching oaks line Main Street, NASA moms schlep children to soccer practice and more neighbors pack heat than anywhere else in Texas.

In this Galveston County burg, as in other far-flung Houston suburbs, the state's rough-and-tumble image as the outspoken-est, gun-totin'-est state in the Union runs smack into the quietude of some of the most peaceful suburban neighborhoods. The League City ZIP code of 77573 has more concealed weapons licenses than any other.

A Houston Chronicle analysis of state records shows that three Houston-area counties have the most licensed gun holders per capita among Texas' most populous counties. Galveston, Montgomery and Brazoria counties lead the brigade among those with at least 100,000 residents.

Since Texas began allowing residents to obtain licenses to carry concealed guns in 1995, the Department of Public Safety has issued more than 220,000 permits. About 15 percent of them have gone to residents of Harris County, which is home to 16 percent of the state's population.

Across the state, a little more than one in every 100 adults can legally carry a pistol. In Galveston, Montgomery and Brazoria counties, however, nearly three in every 100 hold a license.

Smith County in East Texas and McClennan County (where Waco is the county seat) round out the top five.

The prototypical license holder is a middle-age suburban or rural Anglo man. Anglo men hold 165,000, or 74 percent, of all the licenses, followed by Anglo women with 37,766.

Combined, Anglos, who make up 52 percent of the state's population, own 91 percent of the gun licenses.

A closer look at Houston-area neighborhoods pinpoints where the guns are. Half of the state's 20 most-armed -- or, at least, the most legally armed -- ZIP codes are in the suburbs of Houston.

The League City ZIP code, with 843 permit holders, outpaces any other place in the state. Alvin, Cypress, Friendswood, Deer Park, Sugar Land, Baytown, Pearland and La Porte are other communities where a frustrated driver should, perhaps, reconsider road rage.

Galveston County sheriff's Capt. B.J. Miller said he supports Joe Suburbia's right to protect his property. Still, he expressed the concern that neighborhoods and law officers have with heavily armed residents.

"If we have 500 people licensed to carry guns, does that just mean we have 500 upstanding citizens clean enough to pass the stringent background check?" Miller asked. "Or does it mean we have a bunch of people running around putting justice in their own hands instead of where it should be?

"On the other hand, if we don't allow legal guns, only the criminals will have guns."

The relatively low violent crime totals in those areas raises the question: Do guns make the cities safer, or were they safe before concealed guns were allowed?

"Having a license gives a macho feeling, that you are somehow safer and stronger," said Dave Smith, founder and president of Texans for Gun Safety. Smith's area of west Houston is home to 372 people licensed to carry concealed weapons.

"If you ask a gun owner why they carry, they will tell you it's for protection," Smith said. "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.

"It takes very little intelligence to understand that the armed citizen is safer than the unarmed one," he said. "Some are afraid of accidents with guns but don't mind driving after having a few drinks. But there is no question that driving, drunk or otherwise, kills far more people than accidents with guns."

Last year, 3,922 people died in auto accidents in Texas, compared with 2,310 gun deaths, according to the Texas Department of Health's Bureau of Vital Statistics. Of those, 72 people died in shootings that were accidental or for which a cause was not determined.

Of the remaining gun deaths, 1,372 were suicides and 866 were homicides.

When small counties are included, Comal County has the state's highest rate of concealed-weapons permits, with nearly one of every 12 adults under license. Mark Stephens, county election coordinator for the National Rifle Association, said gun owners in the New Braunfels area are not so much afraid of violent crime as eager to deter property crimes such as theft.

"Criminals aren't idiots," Stephens said. "They don't want to get shot any more than anyone else does. They will go someplace where they are not going to be opposed."

While license holders may intend to use their guns for legal purposes, however, a study released this month by the group Americans for Gun Safety focuses on the number of stolen guns used in violent crimes.

"Obviously, they are stolen from people who claimed they were protecting themselves from theft," said organization spokesman Mark Bennett.

Americans for Gun Safety opposes liberal gun ownership policies in Texas and other states.

According to its study, 152,000 guns were stolen in Texas in the past decade, second only to California. The study did not provide statistics on the number of violent crimes associated with those guns, but a 2000 survey by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that 88 percent of guns used in crimes had been stolen or otherwise illegally transferred to the final users.

But to some, there are not enough license holders in Texas.

Gun dealer Neal Seaman and his wife are skedaddling from South Carolina to a ranch south of Odessa because they don't consider their home state gun-friendly enough.

Seaman helped to change legislation in South Carolina to allow concealed handguns on state property, including schools. The state does not, however, allow concealed semiautomatic guns. Texas does.

Through his Web site and affiliation with the fledgling Texas Independent Party, the dealer already has begun a campaign to push for legislation allowing concealed guns on all public property in Texas. The movement has more than 5,000 supporters, he said.

"We're going to hit the ground running full blast," Seaman said. "Texans, through no fault of their own, believe they are free. They are not free yet."

By and large, concealed-gun permit holders have followed the laws. A few have had their licenses revoked, however.

In the seven years since the permits were offered, the state revoked 2,023 licenses because their holders committed certain crimes, such as felony driving while intoxicated. Others used their guns to commit crimes.

In April 2001, for example, Alberto Ruiz Fabila, 39, shot an off-duty Houston police officer with a .45-caliber pistol he was licensed to carry. The officer, working security at an east Houston nightclub, was trying to disarm Fabila when the gun fired and wounded the officer in the hand.

Fabila was convicted in February of aggravated assault on a public servant and sentenced to six years in state prison.

Such cases, although rare, call into question the merit of letting people carry guns, said Miller, the Galveston County sheriff's captain.

"The bad side is, if somebody gets shot with one of these guns, we have to investigate whether there was an alternative," he said. "Was this the best way, a legal way, for a person to defend himself?"

The gun debate plays out with race, class and politics as a backdrop.

Gun country tends to encompass the most predominantly Anglo areas of the state, according to the geographic distribution of handgun licenses. A number of pro-gun Web sites -- not including the NRA's -- also take on issues of race, homosexuality and immigration.

Gun shows and gun-rights literature often feature Confederate flags and -- to the dismay of some gun enthusiasts -- language tying the need for gun ownership to the movement of ethnic minorities into neighborhoods.

Smith, the anti-gun activist, said the pairing of guns and ultraconservative ideas on race and sex has its roots in "white flight" and demographic change in urban areas.

"Carrying a concealed handgun is primarily a white male thing," said Smith, an Anglo who served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. "A lot of white males feel threatened by modern society because they see minority groups getting equal treatment along with them. Being a white male doesn't mean you automatically have the position in society or respect that it used to. Carrying a gun does."

Local activist Quanell X said more blacks should learn how to use and store guns. Members of his New Black Panther Party have carried guns to public events, including the 2000 state Republican convention in Houston.

"If you go to a gun show with 3,000 people there in Houston, you can count on your fingers how many blacks are there -- and you wouldn't have to use two hands," he said. "This is all about fear of people of color and low-income people. So we should be part of the process."

Stephens, the NRA representative from Comal County, countered that gun ownership and political beliefs align "because conservatives believe in their own responsibility for self-defense." He said other activist groups should arm themselves if they believe they are likely targets for violence.

A group of gay residents in Houston's Montrose district (home to 122 license holders) agreed that people not usually associated with the gun rights movement might have more reason to carry concealed weapons than straight, suburban Anglos.

"A lot of gay groups are anti-weapons," said Dan Weiner, head of the Houston gun group Pink Pistols. "But that's one reason people think we're such easy victims. We're supposed to be good little boys and girls and just run away. For those of us tired of being victims, that is not at all true. We have to arm ourselves."

Staff writer Dan Feldstein contributed to this story.

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Drizzt
December 29, 2002, 12:50 PM
So, Dave Smith is calling me a racist, eh? Pretty blatently as well, I might add.

According to its study, 152,000 guns were stolen in Texas in the past decade, second only to California. The study did not provide statistics on the number of violent crimes associated with those guns

Gee, I wonder WHY they didn't provide statistics on the number of crimes committed with the stolen guns? How about if we just make stealing guns illegal?

"If we have 500 people licensed to carry guns, does that just mean we have 500 upstanding citizens clean enough to pass the stringent background check?" Miller asked. "Or does it mean we have a bunch of people running around putting justice in their own hands instead of where it should be?

Somebody needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with Sheriff Miller.


I believe race was a field that had to be filled out on the CHL application, so I would imagine that is where they got those numbers from.

Art Eatman
December 29, 2002, 01:19 PM
Ol' Quanell X ain't eggzackly the brightest star in the heavens, either, for that matter. "Fear of people of color"? Nope, not hardly. When you're armed, color is the last thing you worry about. If you're unarmed, any and all colors can be a problem. (I'd be more concerned if I saw some creature that's green, with purple polka dots.)

And the article carefully doesn't mention that in ALL states with carry permits, the permittees' arrest rates for anything at all are small as compared to the general population. Which is obvious, natch, given what sort of checks we go through.

The Texas State Rifle Association has printed some business cards, the gist of which is: Dear Mr. Storekeeper, I as a CHL holder am certified by the FBI as an honest citizen. Can you say that about your last customer?

:), Art

Blackhawk
December 29, 2002, 01:50 PM
Ah, the Houston Chronicle. If not in Sheila Jackson Lee's CD physically, it ought to be.

Capt. Miller was, I hope, quoted out of context:Galveston County sheriff's Capt. B.J. Miller said he supports Joe Suburbia's right to protect his property. Still, he expressed the concern that neighborhoods and law officers have with heavily armed residents.This Joe is more concerned with protecting his life than property, but property's worth protecting too. If Miller thinks a CCW makes a person "heavily armed", he needs a reality check.

Mark Stephens is a good guy, and there are a lot of them twisting the tails of the antis in Texas!

El Tejon
December 29, 2002, 02:35 PM
WTH? You can't carry a self-loading pistol in South Carolina? Is that right, guys?:confused:

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
December 29, 2002, 04:23 PM
In April 2001, for example, Alberto Ruiz Fabila, 39, shot an off-duty Houston police officer with a .45-caliber pistol he was licensed to carry. The officer, working security at an east Houston nightclub, was trying to disarm Fabila when the gun fired and wounded the officer in the hand.

well DUH! No wonder his CHL was revoked. From the surface of what was printed in the Houston Chronstipation, it appeard he was carrying on premises licensed to serve alcoholic beverages where >51% of the revenue was generated from alcohol sales by the drink. That's strictly forbidden in the first place.
==================

"Having a license gives a macho feeling, that you are somehow safer and stronger," said Dave Smith, founder and president of Texans for Gun Safety. Smith's area of west Houston is home to 372 people licensed to carry concealed weapons.

Geez, I don't feel 'macho' at all. I DO, however, feel remarkably and noticeably safer and stronger (to a degree; technically, I'm disabled).

==========================================
another note; as a proud CHL owner in Dallas County, Texas, when I took the class for my CHL requirements there were 20 totaql persons in the class. Of those, 8 were persons who would fit the category of 'minority populations'. Foo on those who say Texas CHL's are a 'white man only' club.

I support the right of EVERY person to own and carry, not just those who 'look right'.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Jeff White
December 29, 2002, 04:47 PM
Such cases, although rare, call into question the merit of letting people carry guns, said Miller, the Galveston County sheriff's captain.

"The bad side is, if somebody gets shot with one of these guns, we have to investigate whether there was an alternative," he said. "Was this the best way, a legal way, for a person to defend himself?"

So is he saying that if someone shoots an intruder in their home and they don't have a CCW, the circumstances aren't investigated? How about defensive use of hands, feet, knives, bottles etc. Do they only bother checking into the legality of a conflict situation if there is a CCW holder involved? What knid of sheriff's office do they have down there?

Jeff

Gila Jorge
December 29, 2002, 04:55 PM
That article was obviously written by a left wing communist newspaper type anti. The whole tone is anti....reeks of bias.

laynlow
December 29, 2002, 05:05 PM
"If you ask a gun owner why they carry, they will tell you it's for protection," Smith said. "Protection from whom? I'm not quite sure what we're afraid of in our mid- to upper-class neighborhoods."



Hmm, so these people never leave their mid to upper class neighborhoods? Do they have jobs? Do they go shopping? How do they support themselves if they never leave? :rolleyes:

El Tejon
December 29, 2002, 06:05 PM
lay, so this Leftie is admitting that those in lower SESs should carry, just not the well to do?

laynlow
December 29, 2002, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by El Tejon
lay, so this Leftie is admitting that those in lower SESs should carry, just not the well to do?

I think his point was that the people living in the mid to upper class neighborhoods live in neighborhoods that enjoy a relatively low crime rate. Thus, if the crime rate is low, these people are carrying (and therefore fearful) because of nothing.

He is incapable of drawing the conclusion that maybe, just maybe criminals don't want to get shot in these neighborhoods, and he completely ignored the fact that these people do not spend all their time in the neighborhood. His statement would lead the reader to believe that the only time these people are armed is when their at home. That totally dodges the issue of a CCL. Any law abiding citizen could arm themselves at home. Obviously, the residents of these neighborhoods would also carry when they traveled to work, shop, eat, and generally carry out their day-to-day activities. I am sure that in their travels they enter into areas that do not have as low a crime rate as their neighborhoods.

Gopher
December 29, 2002, 06:40 PM
Here are the county by county breakdowns. Interesting stuff to say the least.
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/demographics.htm

Blackhawk
December 29, 2002, 07:14 PM
So is he saying that if someone shoots an intruder in their home and they don't have a CCW, the circumstances aren't investigated? I don't think so, Jeff. A CHL is irrelevant in HD cases.

I think he's just saying that if a CHL holder shoots somebody elsewhere, they have to figure out if the shooting was justified. If a non CHL holder shoots somebody in public, the LEOs can just arrest the shooter since open carry is a no-no in Texas as is CC for a non CHL holder.

LEOs have much more latitude in questioning an arrested person than one who's not yet under arrest, and it probably chaps some of them a bit to have to let a CHL holder go after he answers their relevant questions and says "Okay, that covers what happened, so I'll be leaving now since I'm not under arrest...."

Jeff White
December 29, 2002, 09:29 PM
Blackhawk,
I don't know the law in Texas, but I've been a peace officer in Illinois for almost 18 years, and up here, as antigun as the state is, the means used to defend yourself is immaterial to the act.

In other words, if a person was carrying illegally, and he was attacked on the street, and he used his illegally carried firearm to defend himself, he couldn't be charged with murder if the shooting was legally justified as self defense. He could be charged with UUW or another weapons violation relating to his possession of the firearm, but not murder just because he was illegally carrying the gun.

Also up here we don't have any more latitude in questioning a suspect after he's under arrest then we do before we've arrested him. Might use a different tone in the questioning and not have to worry about detaining him, but other then that the rules are pretty much the same.

So unless the means you use to defend yourself matters in the issue of wether or not the act of self defense was legal and justified in Texas, it seemed to be a pretty inane statement to me. Maybe Texas isn't such a free state if you really have to worry that you might pick up an unlawful weapon in the heat of battle and use it to save your life and then would be charged with murder because you shouldn't have had the gun, bat, knife with too long a blade, bottle etc. but if you'd done it barehanded, you'd be acclaimed an upstanding citizen?

Jeff

TexasVet
December 29, 2002, 09:43 PM
Using Gopher's link I calculate the revocation rate in Texas as .0091%. Not bad at all.:cool:

Drizzt
December 29, 2002, 10:14 PM
No, Jeff, the laws are pretty much the same in TX as in IL, in regard to defending yourself. If it was justified self-defense, you may get charged with illegal posession of a firearm; brandishing; and a few other items, but murder would not be charged as long as the DA or Grand Jury saw the shooting as justifiable.

Wakal
December 29, 2002, 10:18 PM
My county only has 1107 permit holders...we must be a slum :D



A

Jeff White
December 29, 2002, 10:30 PM
Drizzt said;

No, Jeff, the laws are pretty much the same in TX as in IL, in regard to defending yourself. If it was justified self-defense, you may get charged with illegal posession of a firearm; brandishing; and a few other items, but murder would not be charged as long as the DA or Grand Jury saw the shooting as justifiable.

Then I stand by my assertion that suggesting that it's more of a chore to investigate a defensive shooting by a CCW holder then a non-CCW holder is a pretty stupid thing to say. I can't see how it matters one bit to the story. The good Captain is implying that it's really a chore for him to do the job the taxpayers of the county pay him to do. :rolleyes:

I sure hope that was taken out of context and the reporter was cutting and pasting quotes to make it sound like CCW holders were a burden on the system.

Jeff

mec
December 29, 2002, 10:59 PM
The dude who wrote the article failed to note that Texas is 32% Hispanic but for the purpose of demographics, hispanics are lumped in with " Whites" His assertion that a certain percentage of holders is "Anglo" cannot be demonstrated since the hispanics are in to the same category.

Since the law went into effect, the percentage of women has remaine fairly constant at 19-20% while the African American (12% of general population) has grown slowly but steadily from slightly over 2% to between 4&5% olf the license holders. Other categories include asian- native american, other and etc with most of these groups making up a tiny percentage of license holders and of the general population.

Texans for gun safety are just the local branch of the bradyites and they can't be trusted for facts.

westex
December 30, 2002, 12:51 AM
My county only has 1107 permit holders...we must be a slum

Finally someone in San Angelo admits it.:D

Slotback
December 30, 2002, 12:02 PM
Mec, your last sentence sums up Texans for Gun Safety nicely. What a bunch of morons.

cuchulainn
December 30, 2002, 01:25 PM
According to its study, 152,000 guns were stolen in Texas in the past decade, second only to California. The study did not provide statistics on the number of violent crimes associated with those guns, but a 2000 survey by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that 88 percent of guns used in crimes had been stolen or otherwise illegally transferred to the final users.

Well, what percent were stolen? That little factoid tells me exactly nothing. IIRC the FBI study broke "stolen" out from "blackmarket" sales.

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