Not long ago we pointed out that CHL (Concealed Handgun License) holders could carry their concealed handguns at the State Fair of Texas as long as they showed their CHL to a law enforcement officer at the gate.
A growing number of participants report on the Texas CHL Forum and other sites that the folks running the State Fair are requiring a bit more than that.
To summarize one fellow’s story, he arrived at the gates and notified the gatekeeper who was “wanding” entrants to check for large masses of metal that he was a concealed handgun license holder. He was surprised when she responded by demanding his address, phone number, what kind of gun he had…
He, being a citizen of The United State of America, and the State of Texas, refused to provide the requested information and asked to speak with a Dallas Police officer, who was working security near the gate. The police officer politely and professionally told him it was the fair administration’s policy, not the policy of Dallas P.D. and not the law; the fair could refuse admittance if he did not provide the requested information.
The CHL holder decided that giving total strangers information about what type of gun he owned and the street address where it was kept was not worth a day at the fair and left.
So there you have it. Early on, when the State of Texas first passed laws establishing the concealed handgun license program, the privately owned and run State Fair’s administration tried to deny CHL holder’s entering the property while armed. When the Vogons at the Fair administrative offices were shown that it was illegal to deny CHL holders entry since the Fair is held on State owned property, they apparently cooked up a plan to harass CHL holders at the gates and cause them enough consternation to either not attend the fair or go back and leave their guns in their vehicles.
It likely took the Fair’s legal staff a day or so to figure out a way to skirt the spirit of the TEXAS STATE LAW that was passed to ensure that her citizens who had CHLs would not be denied the right to carry concealed on government property.
I hope that folks who cherish the second amendment and are smart enough to know that it was put in place as a protection of the people against government tyranny, not as a hunting right or primary defense against foreign intruders, will forego attending the State Fair of Texas until this stupidity is ended. I also hope that CHL holder will show up at the gates, identify themselves as CHL holders only to law enforcement officers and only after the beeper on the metal detector goes off, and then refuse to provide fair employees any personal information and leave in a very dignified but noticeable manner when asked to do so.
State law require a CHL holder to identify themselves as such ONLY to law enforcement officers, not to private citizens. Identifying yourself as a CHL holder to a non-law enforcement State Fair employee and letting them know you have a gun on your person is technically a violation, because at the point you pass that knowledge to them you are no longer carrying “concealed”…they know you have a gun.
It is a murky mess that can’t be sorted it easily, otherwise lawyers from one side or the other would already be arguing over it in court.
It frustrates me to no end that I have to pay the state for a little ID card that tells law enforcers they mustn’t throw me in jail for exercising my constitutional right to carry a gun.
I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some pip-squeak “security” worker employed by a California firm take down my personal information and what kind of gun I tote just to get into the TEXAS State Fair.
Where the hell are we? New Jersey?
For more details on the story that brought this to my attention visit A Disappointing State Fair Episode 10-1-09 at the Texas CHL Forum.