To the Editor:
I read Thursday’s (Jan. 10) headline “Charges dismissed against Fort Hood staff sergeant” with mixed emotions.
Clearly this man broke the law. Texas Penal Code (§ 46.035. (b) (4) reads, “ A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder’s person on the premises of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health and Safety Code, or on the premises of a nursing home licensed under Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, unless the license holder has written authorization of the hospital or nursing home administration, as appropriate;”
There is no mention or requirement for hospitals to post any concealed carry license forbidden signs on their doors. The unlawful carrying of a handgun by a license holder is emphasized over and over in the four concealed carry classes I have taken.
There are also usually three or four questions on this subject on the CCL written examination as well.
Dismissing the charges through “legal wrangling” based on the fact that there was “no notification on the doors of the hospital’s ER indicating weapons were prohibited when this man entered the hospital” should have been a moot point. He should have known better.
This man also admitted that he had been drinking that night. Section 46.035 (d) reads, “A license holder commits an offense if, while intoxicated, the license holder carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed.” The newest CCL class I took in 2011 said no alcohol may be consumed while you are carrying a concealed weapon.
I do not think the Killeen police officer who arrested him was the party with “a lack of education.” I think this staff sergeant got off easy. He did several things that evening that put his military career in limbo.
I hope he has learned something about personal responsibility from all this; however, from the tone of the article, it does not sound like he did. The judge should have required him to take and pass a CCL refresher course given by a qualified instructor.
George Van Riper