Texas passes a law allowing gun owners to bring their weapons into psychiatric hospitals.
Texas is about freedom. Especially when it comes to guns. And in Texas, they think that not only should everyone be able to open carry whatever firearm they want to wave around in each others’ face, they think mentally ill and unstable people should have access to them too. In fact, they passed a law doing just that.
Gun owners can now bring their firearms into Texas’ 10 state psychiatric hospitals.
Read that last sentence one more time.
Prior to open carry being the law of the land in Texas, guns were banned in state psychiatric facilities. No one — visitors, deliverymen, et cetera — could bring firearms on the campuses. Even local law enforcement officers, who were already allowed to bring their weapons into the facilities, regularly locked up their guns before entering Austin State Hospital. You know, just in case.
As of June 2016 visitors can bring guns into the buildings where patients live. Employees are still prohibited from bringing them on campus. Which makes sense, right? Someone visiting a facility literally filled with mentally unstable people can bring a loaded firearm in. But if that firearm is taken and used by one of the mentally ill or emotionally disturbed people in that facility, no one actually working there (let’s call them targets) could defend themselves.
In an attempt to make us all feel a little better about this new turn of events, Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, who supports the new law, said he doesn’t have a problem with legally obtained and licensed guns in the hospitals. “Its the responsibility of the operators of the facilities to ensure that the patients are not around dangerous weapons,” he said.
The reaction from legislators hasn’t been unanimously festive, however. “Good God,” said Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, who opposed open carry.
The hospital has officially removed the signs banning guns and replaced them with new ones asking people to leave their firearms safely in their cars or to conceal them at the Guadalupe St. hospital, said Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Department of State Health, which runs the 10 state-run mental health hospitals.
“While licensed visitors are legally permitted to carry on our hospital campuses,” Williams said, “Our patients are being actively treated for psychiatric conditions and generally it’s best not to expose them to weapons of any kind.”
That’s kind of no brainer, isn’t it? Isn’t that the idea behind plastic forks in psychiatric hospitals? We don’t want anyone getting hurt with cutlery, but a loaded gun? By all means bring it on in y’all.
God forbid we should stomp all over your Second Amendment Rights.