1/22/2010 4:19 PM
"I'm always up for looking at new ways to protect our citizens, but the last thing I want is the Texas Captiol returning to DFW Airport," Perry said, during a press conference today, referencing Thursday's apprehension of a shooter on the capitol grounds, and discussion of installing metal detectors at the doors.
Perry spoke to the press at Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) headquarters in Austin to accept the endorsement of the group's political action committee. Though the TSRA, the state chapter of the National Rifle Association, gave Perry's chief rival Kay Bailey Hutchison an A+ rating recently, it is the policy of the group to endorse gun rights-friendly incumbents. Susan Howard, board member of the NRA, said if the situations were reversed, and Perry was running for the U.S. Senate seat, the NRA would endorse Hutchison.
Perry, who also earned an A+ rating from the NRA, said he was "deeply honored" by the endorsement -- his third -- and spoke on gun rights issues in terms of Thursday's incident. Said Perry:
"One of the things we can take away from that episode is a renewed respect for the men and women of law enforcement in this state ... it was those individuals who rushed to disarm this gunman with no regard to their [own] safety, they did their job. ... we're blessed to have them standing between us and those who would do harm to the law-abiding residents of this state. Secondly, it's a reminder that we live in a very dangerous world. Fortunately, we have organizations like the NRA and the TSRA that play a key role in establishing and maintaining sensible regulations for gun ownership. It should come to no surprise that yesterday's shooter did not have a Concealed Handgun License. Studies show that holders of those licenses, carefully screened and rigorously tested, are seven times less likely to be involved in a criminal act."
Perry praised the framers of the U.S. Constitution for their foresight in establishing a Bill of Rights that includes a right to bear arms. He noted his support of SB 378, the Castle Doctrine passed in the 80th Legislative Session, which gives residents the power to use deadly force to protect their homes when invaded. Perry also said much progress has been made in terms of expanding gun rights in the U.S. partly due to Texas' stand, and that there are now 29 states which have reciprocal agreements honoring Texas Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs).
The Governor added that he is a CHL holder ... but did not answer a question from the press about whether or not he was packing heat at the press conference.
"That might defeat the whole purpose of 'concealed,'" he said, meeting laughter.