BY PAUL CHRISTIAN VELTE IV
I write to argue against the proposed shooting ban for Hays County. As I keep saying to everyone who will listen, there are just too many variables involved in shooting to be controlled for in writing–there are just too many ways to be stupid. Instead of regulating how one shoots, we should simply make it a legal requirement that no bullet shall pass your property line.
But wait, it already illegal under Texas law to shoot across a property line. But in Mr. Jose Espitia’s particular position, that is only one of many laws he broke. He was extremely, stupidly dangerous. Anyone who would do what Jose Espitia did will not be reading a new ordinance either, as a lawyer I am certain of that.
Consider Espitia was not hunting nor target shooting at a dirt berm–the standard for outdoor gun ranges–but only at a piece of plywood at or near his property line. What Espitia did was beyond the pale for conduct of any sane adult and should not be the basis of any new laws.
t is already against federal law for Espitia to even possess a firearm! An alien with a firearm carries 20 years in prison. But hey, what’s a little federal law? It was illegal for him to own land here too but he owned 1.01 acres of Texas prairie. Somehow none of these laws appear to matter but the next one will.
Now come some Democrats on the Commissioners Court — seizing the opportunity to impose more restrictions–to impose their answer to the problem of one illegal alien ‘target shooting’–and killing another illegal alien’s child, which is: Stop all citizens from shooting unless they own more than 2 acres of land. Hmmm. Using the criminal conduct of illegal intruders in our nation as the reason to make laws for all citizens to abide by… I see a trend here.
I ask you: How common is it to “shoot a target” and “accidentally” kill someone? One thing about “target” shooting is that you are trying to hit your target—you are very aware of what you are aiming at. This case is beyond negligence; it was at least reckless or possibly even intentional. Who knows? We never will unless Espitia stands trial. Which is why Espitia must be tried. Criminal laws do work to deter his type of conduct if only the justice system does it’s job.
Criminal laws already on the books alone outlaw most aspects of Mr. Espitia’s conduct: being here, owning land here, possessing the rifle, and shooting it across his property line; not to mention killing someone. The ‘problem’ he caused, is not systemic to Texas culture. Though it is to Mexican culture, because Mexico prohibits ordinary citizens from owning guns. It is backward and reprehensible to deny such a basic human right to its citizens—which is one reason they have always suffered under their form of government. But we are not Mexico, and there’s no need to adopt a prohibition upon ourselves here in Hays County.
The Commissioner’s court is set to ban shooting on land that has never before–in the history of man on Earth–been forbidden to shooting. That’s a sad thing to see happen. This has always been shooting land. Jack Hays is turning in his grave. And All because of an illegal invader of our land and our laws! We need to preserve our heritage, not kill it. Don’t let it be stolen by foreigners who break our laws. That is what is happening. Life in the USA is valuable, yet our government is letting millions steal it by simply moving in and setting up shop. Free hospital births, free WIC, no questions asked. One illegal is shot by another? OK, so let’s kill our traditions to solve that problem. That’s the solution being proposed for Hays County.
Not even Travis County has such a law. Is it ever wise to adopt an ordinance based on a sole incident? There’s not even been a trial yet. I’ve been following this case, and all publicly available information is very sparse. The DA and sheriff have all relevant data and neither is talking–I’ve asked. All details are kept secret and will remain a secret if the DA cuts a deal. All quite legal, I should add. But rational policy making–like an ordinance–requires facts for intelligent design. But we won’t have facts if this case gets plea bargained. Such is the problem with plea bargaining always–and why it was not allowed for the first 100 years of our state’s existence. (Yes, in the ‘old’ days, every case got tried to a jury.) After the facts are made known, then and only then should we consider making new laws to live by.
This case is clearly one that should be tried, not plea bargained. It is the district attorney’s prerogative to cut a deal or not. The DA does not have to plea bargain any case she does not want to. But for benefit of public policy–which is in part the purpose of public trials–not to mention justice–it MUST be tried. The whole community should have the chance to sit through a public trial of the events of that day when Mr. Espitia shot 7 year old Daniel Galicia. For the good of our community, this should happen before we pass new laws. That, my friend, is the basis of sound policy making. This is Jack C. Hays County, so let’s live up to our heritage please, and our traditions. Let’s keep this Texas hill Country safe for shooting for our children, and their children. It is the means to stay free.
Look at this map. It is a satellite image of the DPS range in the middle of Austin. On no more than 1/5th of an acre, for decades, the DPS has been shooting in the middle of a densely populated urban area. Why do we need to ban all shooting on two acres in Hays? Travis has a million people, Hays has about 130,000. Travis County has no similar ordinance, so why should we?
You tell me what’s going on in this culture we call Hays County? I really want to know. Are we not the defenders of liberty, the heirs to a long line of freedom fighters, from Jack Hays, Sam Houston, and going back to George Washington, the first patriot?
PAUL VELTE, an attorney who lives in Kyle, ran for district attorney in 2006 and is a member of the county’s task force on shooting restrictions.Email | Print