Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Guilty until proven innocent?

I got this latest story from the Houston Chronicle written by Clay Robison. It seems that Chuck Rosenthal, the Harris County District Attorney, would rather have citizens prove they're innocent in a criminal court of law rather than follow the guidelines set forth in a new State Law. I find such an attitude reprehensible from the standpoint of a local official thumbing his nose at State law.

“The new statute says a person is "presumed to be traveling" if he or she is in a private vehicle, is not engaged in criminal activity (except for a minor traffic offense), is not prohibited by any other law from possessing a firearm and is not a member of a criminal street gang.”

The way the old law read left many areas open to interpretation, mostly the part where it had a clause that implied that it was lawful to carry a pistol in your vehicle as long as you were “acting as a traveler acts”. I was still on the street in the capacity of police officer and we were instructed that “acting as a traveler acts” included longer distances, such as going from Houston to Dallas as opposed to going from your house down to the local grocery store. It also included the idea of stopping off over night, having some kind of bag packed and quite a bit of common sense.

“Motorists arrested for carrying pistols in their cars without a concealed handgun license will continue to be prosecuted in Houston, despite a new law that purports to give them a legal defense, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said Monday.”

It looks like the old saying, “You may beat the rap but you won't beat the ride”, will continue as long as the cowboy mentality remains. “Yehaw, podnah, yer goin to the howse-gow fur thet hog leg yer toten” I think that’s what he said; couldn’t be too sure with all that jaw flappin in the breeze.

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