By Lance Lowery, For the Backgate Website
AFSCME Texas Correctional Employees call on Texas Legislature for off duty carrying rights. Three days ago a Kaufman County assistant DA was gunned down by suspected prison gang members. The Assistant DA was investigating the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Prison gangs are no laughing matter and they have targeted public officials, including correctional officers.
Officer Arthur Redelfs, a correctional officer with the El Paso County Sheriff, was killed by members of the Barrio Azteca prison gang after having a run in with gang members at work. Redelfs was taking his his wife and two of her coworkers to lunch when the hit went down. Redelfs' wife and her two coworkers worked for the US Consulate in Juarez. This incident helped bring attention to the US Border and cartel issues. Unfortunately not much attention was brought to the fact this was not a cartel hit, but was a hit by a Texas prison gang.
As public servants and one of the lowest paid law enforcement officials in this country, Texas correctional officer families should not have to incur the cost of concealed handgun license and training (estimated cost $350). Even with the CHL some TDCJ wardens will not permit the storage of weapons in an officers vehicle at work, making the officers an easy target for gang members. These officials already carry weapons on duty, have all undergone the required criminal background check, and have been trained on lawfully discharging a firearm. Its time Texas update their gun laws to recognize the carrying rights of their public officials who insure public safety.
The bill would add the following under Penal Code Section 46.15 to allow of duty carry privileges;
"(10) an employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice who holds a certificate of proficiency issued by that agency."
Back the Bill....