Texas, a place where guns are right at home

by Rick Jervis, USA TODAY  |  published on February 19, 2013

texas

Pastor James McAbee believes the Scriptures can tame temptation and wash away sins. But he’ll tell you that nothing repels true evil like a well-placed, loaded Glock .40-caliber pistol.

McAbee, known around town as the “Pistol-Packing Preacher,” keeps his loaded Glock in a holster tucked in his pants at all times, whether making a bank deposit or preaching from the pulpit of the Lighthouse Worship Center, an Assembly of God church where he pastors.

When not preaching, McAbee offers a $50 one-day concealed weapons course to gun enthusiasts. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, when a 20-year-old man shot and killed 20 students and six staffers before shooting himself, he’s offered the classes for free to teachers.

It’s the Texas way, McAbee, 36, says. “We believe an armed society is a peaceful society. This is Texas, and everybody has a gun.”

Nearly two months after the massacre in Connecticut, renewed calls for tighter gun controls are rising in the nation’s capital and many states, as polls show growing public support for some restrictions.

Yet here in Texas, which has a long-cherished history of independence and an unshakeable pro-gun culture, talk of limits on weapons is met with resolute defiance:

Republican Gov. Rick Perry said last month that the effort by the “political left” and news media to exploit the Connecticut massacre to push for gun-control measures “disgusts me.”
State Rep. Jason Villalba, a Republican from Dallas, has proposed putting an armed “marshal” in every public school. Republican state Rep. Steve Toth, who represents an area north of Houston, has vowed to make it a felony to enforce federal gun bans within Texas’ borders.

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