Love means never having to check your .38

Guns and Texas isn’t just about image: It’s the real deal, y’all.

We love ’em. We buy ’em. We trade ’em like.

And when we really get excited, we shoot ourselves and other people with ’em.

In honor of the Texas love affair with the gun (and to try to intimidate the rising costs of higher education), San Antonio state Senator Jeff Wentworth pushed hard to get a bill through the 81st Texas Legislature that would’ve allowed concealed firearms on state university campuses. While his effort failed, the range of shootin’ irons is in no way weakening in the Lone Star State.

It’s been nearly 20 years since gun-related fatalities surpassed traffic deaths in Texas for the first time. It was almost six years after that, in 1996, that then Governor George W. Bush signed concealed-carry into law.

Ever since, the gun has been on the gun-lover’s side.

In 2007, we adopted the so-called Castle Doctrine, meaning Texans no longer have to attempt to peaceably resolve strange rumblings in the night. Threats of violence at home, in the car, or at work can be met with deadly force and immunity for the shooter. Drunken college students and Tourette’s sufferers, take note. (N.B. a Bexar County grand jury just indicted a man who shot a drunken teen after the teen had run out of his house empty-handed; turned out the kid was just lost.)

Meanwhile taxationed-with-no-representation Washington D.C. tried to lay some Stalinistic bullet-betraying ordinance on its populace. The Supreme Court sided with gun-rights advocates in a 5-4 decision that guns and people could not be parted, cold dead hands of the former “murder capital” aside.

That ruling has had ramifications in other parts of the country where guns don’t enjoy the liberty Texas provides them. Brotherly loving Philadelphia, for instance, may soon have to reconsider its attempted ban on assault rifles.

Meanwhile, starting in February 2010, the unjust walls of liberal fascism around Big Bend National Park will fall to the forces of the “well-armed militia.”

No more will black bears chew on our children. No more will drug-warring cartels intimidate snacking tourists as they take in Chisos Basin’s panoramic views. No more will that asshole who cuts us off as we putter along at the posted speed limit get away with it. Guns are coming to the park.

Imagine our surprise when the public-relations apparatus of BBNP told us that wild animals and Zetas weren’t devouring their guests.

“The big deal with the drug wars and all this going on, they don’t realize we are six hours form all of that,” a park employee told the Current. “They don’t realize they are more in danger from the heat. Mostly heat and motor-vehicle accidents.”

Nope. No black-bear attacks. One or two scary incidents with mountain lions, but nothing life-threatening. And Brady-Bunch-goes-to-Hawaii memories aside, even voodoo-charged tarantulas won’t kill you.

Still, some of us would feel better with the iron in our leg holster — until we’ve hiked our first half-mile, I’d wager.

“I understand that, people sitting in a large city and they see on the news those drug wars and they hear about mountain-lion attacks in California, bear attacks in Yellowstone and all that kind of stuff,” said the park ranger. “I can understand the phobias.”

I think they made a handgun for that.

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