Texan Reacts to Gun Rights Ruling

The man most responsible for Texans' right to carry concealed weapons says today's historic Supreme Court ruling on the right to own guns is a major victory for gun rights advocates. Jim Bell reports.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson sponsored the state's Concealed Carry law when he was in the state legislature, and he's an outspoken advocate of the right to own and carry weapons. Patterson says the Supreme Court has settled, once and for all, the debate over the meaning of the 2nd Amendment.

"Well I think it finally was a directly on point decision that affirmed what we've all known, that the second amendment enumerates in the Bill of Rights an individual Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and that is not associated with service or membership in the National Guard."

Patterson says the high court was backed into a corner by Washington D.C.'s complete ban on gun ownership, and it was forced to rule one way or the other on the right to own guns.

"That's why the case was such a good one. I mean there've been several cases that, you know, kind of bounced around it, but the court has never directly, on point, addressed the issue. But this one is direct. This one is clear. Whether it's 5-4, 9-0, 7-2, 6-3, makes no difference."

Today's historic ruling does not affect laws prohibiting felons and the mentally ill from owning guns, or laws against carrying guns in schools and other government buildings. Patterson says state and local governments can still regulate gun ownership and where guns can be carried. From now on, the debate will be over whether that regulation is reasonable. Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.