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News Flash: John Roberts Does Not Have a License To Drive an Eighteen-Wheeler:

Well, maybe the story I just read is not quite that unnewsworthy, but it's close. From The AP:

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, who once owned a .45-caliber revolver, is not licensed to carry a concealed handgun in Texas. State officials refused Monday to reveal whether she has ever been licensed.

Miers' brother gave her the Smith & Wesson handgun when he was worried about her living alone in Dallas. Judge Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court, a longtime friend of Miers', has said she kept the gun for a long time. . . .

State law requires the release of information about license holders but not former license holders, said Pamela Smith, assistant general counsel for the agency.

A person in Texas can own a gun without a concealed handgun license. Texas is one of 43 states that allow concealed weapons, and more than 230,000 residents are registered under the law.

The Texas state archives on Monday released thousands of pages of documents related to Miers' days as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission, from 1995 to 2000, and her correspondence with then-Gov. George W. Bush. . . .

Now I did get an e-mail from someone who said that he'd heard that Miers did have a concealed-carry license, so I suppose the article has value in rebutting this rumor (though only in some measure, since it speaks only of current Texas licenseholders; if Miers lives in Virginia, for instance, she might have a Virginia license).

But my sense is that it's a pretty low-level rumor, which leaves me still wondering why her lack of a concealed-carry license -- a lack that she shares with the overwhelming majority of Texas gun owners (only a bit more than 1% of the Texas population has a concealed-carry license, which probably amounts to no more than 3% to 5% of the Texas gun-owning population) -- is a news item, especially one for the first paragraph in the story. There's nothing illegitimate about noting this; I'm just surprised that the author and his editors saw it as worth noting.

Random Law Talking Guy (mail):
Perhaps you missed the hit list in The New Republic. They rated Miers as the number 1 hack in town and basically called open season. The AP is just toeing the party line.

Which reminds me, I still need to call my contacts who made the list to congratulate them. You must be doing something right when the clowns at The New Republic call for your head!
10.13.2005 6:44pm
Houston Lawyer:
A concealed carry permit is necessary in Texas only if you actually want to carry a pistol on your person or in your car. You must go through a day-long session (think 10 hours of defensive driving), show minimal shooting skills and pay $140. The license is only good for three years. I generally consider the class to be punitive, just like defensive driving. I rest assured that Ms. Miers is not packing a .45 caliber revolver on her person. It would be difficult for anyone of her stature to carry such a hogleg and comply with the law that requires that the pistol actually be concealed.
10.13.2005 6:53pm
A Guest Who Enjoys This Site:
It may simply be an attempt to infer or guess as to her 'conservative credentials' vis a vis the 2nd Amendment. Despite media tripe to the contrary, there ARE a considerable number of conservatives concerned with ANY nominee's stance on the 2nd as either an individual or collective right. Even Roberts was asked about it in the public hearings.
10.13.2005 6:54pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
Her alleged possession of such a permit has been the subject of some rumors among conservatives that my antennae picked up on the first or second day; some people have suggested it as a basis for thinking she'd be good on gun rights. To be honest, I don't recall if I read about it in some news outlet (which would make the AP's article seem appropriate: correcting prior erroneous reporting) or merely from rumors (which makes the AP article seem contextless and odd).
10.13.2005 7:00pm
Jeff Davidson (mail):
In case it should matter, a Texas concealed carry permit is good in Virginia too.
10.13.2005 7:47pm
Plainsman:
Good taste in firearms. I have to admit, the possibility that Miers -- a Texan with a large-caliber revolver -- might be sound on the Second Amendment is the one thing that gives me pangs about my opposition to her nomination.

Of course, Sen. Feinstein packs too, and that doesn't stop her from wanting the peasantry disarmed.
10.13.2005 8:10pm
joated (mail):
Putting this non-news item (not having a concealed carry permit) in the opening paragraph may simply be the result of the left's ignorance of the gun laws on the books. The author and the responsible editor(s) probably thought it was a violation of the law. (On second thought, is it ignorance, bias or both?)
10.13.2005 8:21pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
But in one of the paragraphs I quoted, the reporter makes clear that owning a gun without having a concealed carry permit is not a violation of the law.
10.13.2005 8:45pm
PersonFromPorlock:
I do have my doubts about that "Smith &Wesson .45," though. IIRC, S&W only made two .45s, one model for the Army during WW1 and the other, very rare, for center-fire target shooting. All other large-bore S&Ws were .44 caliber.

Just a quibble and I could be wrong, but maybe another media misfire (sorry)!
10.13.2005 9:48pm
Jack Bauer (mail):
Smith and Wesson produces 26 varieties of pistols with a .45 bore (all but one being the normal ACP cartridge length).

Models include the 325PD, 1911, 945, 457, 625, sw99, SW990l.

They make a lot of 1911's, which I would hope are usually .45's.
10.13.2005 11:18pm
A Guest Who Enjoys This Site:
Oh the pain and ignominy of actually being put into a position where I must 'defend' the potential accuracy of technical detail in a media report. But, as JackBauer indicates, there are a plethora of "current" models of 45-caliber 'handguns' available from Smith &Wesson in both 45 ACP and 45 Colt. However, the 1911's, the 945's, the 457's, the CS45's, and the SW99's do not count as '45-caliber revolvers' in that they are semi-automatic pistols, NOT revolvers.

Thus, the current incarnations of Smith &Wesson revolvers would be the 325's (45 ACP), the 625's (45 ACP), and the 25's (45 Colt). However, given the plethora of Smith &Wesson '45-caliber revolvers' made over the course of the last 100-plus years (including all the way back to the famous 'Schofield'), there is no way of knowing exactly which model Ms. Miers was given and owned during the time frame presented in the article.

But, more to the point of Volokh's post about this being a "non-news" story...

Aside from the obvious attempt at inference, either positive or nefarious depending on your predilictions, I think the focus on her gun ownership would have been more substantive if the author had addressed the following two points:

1.) Was Miers known to have actually taken it anywhere besides her own home? If the answer is "yes," then the issue of a CWP becomes relevant; but, only if she 'carried' it on a regular basis as opposed to heading off to practice sessions at a range.

2.) Was Miers known to have been an adequate, competent, or expert marksman? In other words, could this woman actually USE the firearm or is this just a case of a brother presenting, out of legitimate concerns, a sister with a tool for self-defense; but, it simply got stuck in a closet or nightstand and forgotten about?

Again, I think we're faced with a situation where, due to her near total lack of coherent writing on the 2nd Amendment in her 'Texas Lawyer' articles and her lack of public discourse on the issue, one side is going to interpret this as her being 'conservative acceptable' while the other side tags her as just another 'Pistol-Packin' Texan' with potentially 'dangerous' views on ownership of nasty, ole', evil guns.
10.14.2005 12:07am
Jam (mail):
Yawn. If memory serves me right, in Texas, the average per person ownership of weapons is 5.

Even Democrats have guns in Texas.
10.14.2005 10:42am
Nick (www):
To you and me... it probably just seems a strange thing to mention. But to many other readers, I wonder if they would then infer that it is a required permit to have in Texas for a gun owner and that she's breaking the law.

You and I know that to not be true, but often times when articles are written in this way, people will come away with that sort of impression. After all, why else mention it?
10.14.2005 11:41am
ed in texas (mail):
As a Texas gun owner, and previously a licensed gun carrier, I can tell you there are substantial reasons not to have a carry license in Texas.
Number one on the list: I you are ever stopped by the police and they see your permit card, it GUARANTEES you will be handcuffed and restrained until they decide your weapon is 'secure'. No BS.
10.14.2005 12:40pm
roy solomon (mail):
I can't give a cite, but I'm quite sure I read news reports(not rumors)indicating she had a carry permit. The article would be refuting that.
10.14.2005 2:36pm
Houston Lawyer:
Ed. I don't know where you live in Texas, but I have heard from more than one concealed carry holder that, upon showing the permit when stopped for a traffic violation, they were let go without even a warning for the speeding violation for which they were stopped. On another stop, a green officer did want to take the weapons into his custody. When the owner said sure, but I want a receipt, the officer was so conflicted that he just let him go.
10.14.2005 5:06pm
Aubrey Turner (mail) (www):
ed in texas,

I've never had a problem with it here, and the majority of CHL-holders I've heard from haven't had a problem, either.

Granted, I've only been stopped once since I've had a CHL. However, the DPS officer was polite and professional. No handcuffs, no fuss.
10.14.2005 5:29pm