Texas Sheriff Claims Gun Ownership a ‘Privilege’

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AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Fort Bend County, Texas Sheriff Eric Fagan is up for re-election next year, and he just gave any challengers that might emerge a big issue for their own campaign to replace him.

Speaking with a reporter from Houston’s KRPC-TV, Fagan recently declared his support for more restrictions on gun ownership, which he claims is a privilege that should be earned, rather than a right that should be protected.

… “I think that we should have more training. I’m all for that. More training. Also, check for mental illness before a person purchase a gun, getting a driver’s license. Doctors check to see if you have epilepsy and things like that. And if you do, they deny you from getting a driver’s license because you can harm someone else. Why can’t we do the same with a gun?”

Well, for starters, driving isn’t a right. But we also do have disqualifiers for those adjudicated as mentally ill or involuntarily committed to a mental institution. If Fagan doesn’t think that goes far enough, what exactly is he proposing? Would he prefer that treatment for depression renders someone ineligible to exercise their Second Amendment rights? What about anxiety? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Maybe everyone who’s actively seeing a therapist or a counselor should lose their ri… excuse me, their privilege of owning a gun.

“It should be a privilege. You should earn that privilege. The age limit, I think 21 to 22 because of brain development. Listen, some persons brains are not developed at 18. But will I stand up, and say no? Because a parent can train that child at a young age, I have no problem with that. But if they go and show that that child is proficient, I’m fine with it. But let’s just [have] common sense. That’s all I’m asking for. Common sense.”

That’s what he says he’s asking for, but Fagan’s assertions don’t make any sense at all. Not only does the Second Amendment protect an individual right to keep and bear arms; the Texas constitution does as well. Article 1, Section 23 explicitly states that “Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State”, while granting the legislature the power to regulate (but not prohibit) “the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”

Fagan’s was elected to the position of sheriff back in 2020 with about 52 percent of the vote, but that was before he publicly declared his belief that the good folks of Fort Bend County don’t actually have a right to keep and bear arms at all. I’m sure his anti-Second Amendment viewpoint won’t be the only issue in the sheriff’s race next year, but it will be an issue, and rightfully so. Heck, I’d like to see both Republicans and any Democratic challengers take on Fagan’s assertion that gun ownership is a privilege, not a right. His statement should draw rebukes from both sides of the political spectrum, and no matter how hard he might try to massage his message going forward, he’s already made his position clear. As far as he’s concerned, your right to possess a gun in the home and carry one in public for self-defense doesn’t exist.

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I don’t know how many lawful gun owners in Fort Bend County he’d disarm if given the chance, but based on his comments it doesn’t sound like the number is zero. That alone should be enough for the voters of Fort Bend County to replace him with a sheriff who will not only acknowledge the right to keep and bear arms, but work to protect it as well.

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