Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

posted by Charles L. Cotton on Dec 18

Charles L. Cotton photoThe mass murder of twenty first grade children and six adults in Newtown Connecticut was a tragedy beyond comprehension.  Unfortunately, the news media is unintentionally increasing the odds that a copycat mass murderer will duplicate the massacre in another school.  Since the Newtown shootings on Friday, December 15, 2012, at least three people have been arrested for threatening to enter schools and kill students and faculty.  How many more are watching the unending television coverage of this event and dreaming of their “15 minutes of fame?”

Let me say up front that I am not a mental health professional.  However, as an attorney for many years and as a former police officer, I have dealt with numerous mentally unstable people.  A shared belief with a large percentage of these people is that society, or some identifiable segment thereof, has treated them unfairly.  The majority of these folks did not exhibit any tendency towards violence or revenge, but a few made it clear that they felt some form of retribution was an order, even though they stopped short of making actual threats.  The bitterness and antisocial behavior seems to be more prominent in people who feel they are ignored or belittled by the society they have come to fear or despise.

My experience is consistent with information provided by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in response to prior mass murders at schools, movie theaters, and shopping malls.  The combination of feelings of rejection and/or ridicule coupled with feelings of inadequacy is potentially deadly.  Many of these people feel that they have nothing to live for and a small percentage of them want to make society take notice that they exist.  In their demented minds, the best way to accomplish that is to slaughter innocent people.  They believe that becoming a mass murderer will ensure that they have more than merely 15 minutes of fame.  Indeed, the higher the body count and the more innocent and defenseless the victims, the more television coverage they will enjoy.  Their names and faces will be on televisions and newspapers worldwide.

While the news media does not intend to encourage copycat killers by the extensive media coverage provided such events, they are fully aware of the facts set out in the preceding paragraphs.  Countless psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have previously been interviewed by the very networks and television stations that are currently broadcasting constant reports about the Newtown massacre.  During these interviews, the motivation for fame or merely recognition of their existence is commonly cited as the factor that triggered prior mass murderers.  While there is no “intent” in the legal sense, the media is knowingly engaging in actions that increase the likelihood that someone else will follow in Adam Lanza’s footsteps.

How many Adam Lanzas are sitting at home glued to their television watching the incessant media coverage of the Newtown tragedy?  How many realize that the level of society’s grief and the amount of media coverage is directly related to the age, innocence, and helplessness of the first grade children that were slaughtered?  How many will be prompted to launch their own murderous attacks and to target  elementary schools to gain the same level of infamy heaped on Adam Lanza by the media?

Many years ago the big three television networks viewed their newsrooms as public service operations.  Unfortunately, this philosophy changed and news broadcasts are also subject to Nielsen ratings.  With this change came the tendency not to merely report but to seek out the most titillating events that could be found.  This philosophy is not limited to the big three television networks any longer; it is pervasive throughout the media industry.

The sad truth is sex and blood sells and the media are willing to exploit society’s blood lust.  Oh, we shake our heads in disgust at the thought that ancient Romans would have made a sport out of gladiatorial combat or gruesome public executions in the Coliseum, but society is still intrigued by violent death.

Adam Lanza pulled the trigger but the media shares responsibility for the murder of 20 innocent children and six adults trying to protect those students.  Based on extensive media coverage of prior school shootings, there can be no doubt that Adam Lanza was aware that his actions were going to make his name a household word.

Let’s do something about this!  Light up the switchboards, web pages and Facebook accounts for every media outlet with demands to stop the media coverage that serves to encourage others to commit these heinous acts.  Let them know that the blood of the next child will be on their hands.

I wish I were naïve enough to believe that such actions would bring about a responsible change on the part of the American media.  Sadly, I know better but I can no longer sit back and do nothing while the media essentially conducts classes on how to become the next media darling.

posted by Charles L. Cotton on Apr 12

Jessie Jackson, Rep. Al Green, Al Shaprton and others are using the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida to call for the repeal of all so-called “stand your ground” laws around the country.  Jessie Jackson was in Houston on April 12th calling for repeal of the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Jackson erroneously claims such laws promote “vigilantism.”  Jessie Jackson, Al Green and other self-appointed black leaders either do not know what the so-called Texas “Castle Doctrine” requires, or they know the truth and are lying to the public.

It is hard to determine what is at the center of complaints by Jackson and Green, as they never manage to state precisely what offends them about the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Based upon numerous statements made around the country, it appears that the repeal of the retreat duty is what Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others want to accomplish.  However, they argue that the lack of a retreat duty means people can used deadly force “anytime they feel threatened.”  Undoubtedly, they got this misinformation from the Brady Campaign to [Ban all Guns and Render Everyone Defenseless].

Let us brush aside the lies and rhetoric and look at the history of the retreat duty in Texas, as well as the actual provisions of the Texas version of the “Castle Doctrine.”  Prior to 1977, Texas was a “True Man State” meaning there was no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, but only if the use of  deadly force was  justified under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  In 1977, the Texas Legislature amended the Penal Code to require a person to retreat before using deadly force, even in their own home!  This was the law until 1995 when the duty to retreat inside your home was repealed.  When SB378 passed in 2007, the retreat duty was repealed, but with safeguards.  There is no duty to retreat before using legally justified deadly force only if 1) the person is legally present at the location where they used deadly force; 2) the person did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used; and 3) the person using deadly force was not engage in illegal conduct at the time they used deadly force.  (See Tex. Penal code §9.32(c))

As noted earlier, repeal of the retreat duty does not change or diminish the long-standing requirements to use deadly force found throughout Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  The logic for repealing the retreat duty is sound and it was necessary to allow innocent people to defend themselves without fear of prosecution.  Prior to 2007, even if a person “reasonably believed deadly force was immediately necessary to prevent the other person’s use of unlawful deadly force” against them, they still had to try to get away before defending himself or herself.  If they got killed trying to escape, well too bad.  That was an absurd legal requirement that valued the life of a criminal more than the life of their intended victim.

Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others are siding with violent criminals by calling for a return to the days when innocent people had to risk their lives before defending themselves against violent attacks.  Once again Jessie Jackson, Al Green and Al Sharpton are trying to raise money and get some free air time by sprinkling themselves with Trayvon’s blood and lying about so-called “stand your ground” statutes.  Unfortunately, their despicable actions are not a surprise.  This has been their game plan for many years.

posted by Charles L. Cotton on Sep 30

posted by Charles L. Cotton on Apr 6

I learned this morning that Charlton Heston died yesterday at his home in Los Angles. His wife Lydia was at his side as she has been for sixty-four years. Although Mr. Heston’s death was not a surprise in view of his failing health, the news reminded me of the NRA Annual Meeting and celebration in 2003.

In 2003, the NRA Annual Meeting of Members was held in Orlando, Florida. As usual, we had committee meetings virtually the entire preceding week and the Board meeting was on the Monday after the Annual Meeting of the members. To say the week was busy would be an understatement. We started early and worked late to finish our committee work. By Friday, we were ready for a break.

There is usually a Friends of the NRA Dinner on Friday night and a banquet on Saturday night after the formal Meeting of the Members. In 2003, it was different. It is well known that Charlton Heston served as President of the NRA for five years, the only person to have served more than the customary two year term. In all likelihood, he would have been re-elected, had he not been stricken with Alzheimers. But it was not to be and in 2003, Charlton Heston stepped down as President of the NRA.

Many people believe Mr. Heston was elected and re-elected simply because he brought celebrity status to the office, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. To honor Mr. Heston for his tireless service, a special Tribute to Charlton Heston was held on Friday night during the 2003 NRA Annual Meeting and celebration. Mr. Heston and Lydia, his wife of 50+ years, were on stage during the tribute that was narrated by Tom Selleck. As one would expect, videos were shown of several of Mr. Heston’s speeches and appearances made on behalf of the NRA, its members and pro-rights candidates. What came as a surprise to many people was the dedication Mr. Heston has shown to civil rights throughout his life. He was one of the relatively few whites to march with Martin Luther King in Washington, D.C., a show of courage that would become a hallmark of his character.

Martha and I sat in front of the stage and watched Mr. Heston, Lydia and the video tribute in awe. We were struck with just how much Mr. Heston had done not only for the NRA members, but for the entire pro-rights movement. Marching with Dr. King was not so different from promoting pro-gun candidates; both required a heartfelt respect for our God-given freedoms protected by the United States Constitution and most state constitutions. In his five years as NRA President, he traveled tens of thousands of miles, gave hundreds of speeches and interviews and was often verbally attacked and ridiculed by those who would deprive Americans of their Constitutional right to own and use firearms for self-defense and sporing purposes.

We’ve all seen several standing ovations, but the one given to Charlton Heston and Lydia was the most sincere expression of appreciation given to a great American I had ever seen in my then-53 years. I am not what one would call an overly emotional person, as Martha will certainly confirm. However, watching Charlton Heston and Lydia walk from the stage while waving and throwing kisses to we who loved and admired him, then disappear behind the curtain, was one of the more difficult moments in my life. I kept thinking, “look at what this man has done and how much we are losing!”

Was Charlton Heston merely a celebrity figurehead? Hardly! He was the consummate patriot who was always willing to put the rights of others before his own interests; one who worked through his own physical pain and exhaustion to carry the fight for freedom to anyone who would listen.

I always find the NRA committee and board meetings to be rejuvenating, especially the Annual Meeting with tens of thousands of NRA members present. 2003, however, was in a class by itself. That year, Mr. Heston left the NRA Presidency, but his spirit and dedication will be long remembered and will serve as an inspiration for all who truly treasure freedom. We can show our respect for him by doubling our efforts to draw more people into the NRA. With the 2008 elections approaching and the likelihood of the Democrats expanding their majority in the United States House and Senate, strengthening the NRA has never been more important. Add in the distinct possibility that Senator Barack Omama may occupy the White House when a new United Nations small arms treaty is presented, and the threat becomes even more clear. To be sure, the NRA is the most powerful and successful civil rights organization the world has ever known, but one can only imagine what could be accomplished if our membership were doubled or tripled.

And what about TSRA? Why do we have approximately 35,000 members, when NRA membership in Texas is close to 300,000? If all NRA members would join TSRA, what politician, State or local, would dare tread on our freedoms? If you are not a member of either the NRA or TSRA, please join and encourage each and every family member to do likewise. The NRA and the pro-rights movement are stronger than ever in our history, but the threat is hardly over. The Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence is just waiting until the 2008 elections are over, while praying the U.S. economy will remain soft until election day. Remember, a change in the White House means a change not only in the President, but also the U.S. Attorney General and the real likelihood of nominating at least two new Supreme Court Justices, if Justices Stevens and Ginsberg retire as many predict. We are strong, but we need to be stronger yet.

At one time, the NRA offered the Tribute to Charlton Heston on VHS or DVD. I don’t know if the DVD is still available, but if so, every patriot should own it.

God speed Mr. Heston,

posted by Jerry Patterson - Texas Land Commissioner on Mar 31

Here is a communication I sent to a Hilton Hotel executive in response to an apparent new policy to prohibit Texas Concealed Handgun Licensees from bringing their defensive handguns into the hotel.

Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner


I recently picked up a member of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) from the Doubletree on 15th St in Austin and noticed the new signs announcing that concealed handguns are not permitted (the signs are silent on whether other types of firearms such as rifles and shotguns are prohibited).

I have several questions:

1. Is a firearm in a personal vehicle in your garage prohibited?
2. Since I was in my vehicle and armed when I drove up to pick up my colleagues the other night, was I in violation of your policy?
3. When you accept reservations do you inform your guests of this policy so that they are not surprised when they arrive?
4. If a guest with reservations and a firearm, and who was not aware of your new policy arrived at your hotel would you provide safe off premises storage for the weapon?
5. If there were no provisions for storage of a firearm, would you insure the guest could find other equivalent lodging in Austin even if all hotels were booked as is often the case?
6. Since most of the SBOE members stay at your hotel because they can walk to state office buildings, do you assume an additional obligation for the personal safety of guests who are disarmed by your policy and who may be victims of crime while on or off your premises, particularly while walking at night to and from meetings?
7. Do you have any concern that the signs posted on your building might attract criminal activity since criminals are likely to be attracted to a location where they believe their potential victims are unarmed? Does this obvious incentive for criminal activity create an additional liability for you if a guest is assaulted?
8. Are you aware that the signs you have posted likely do not comply with Texas Penal Code section 30.06 and therefore may not be legally sufficient to ban handguns from your property?

While a State Senator, I was the author of Texas’ concealed handgun law. There are few if any in the State of Texas who are more familiar with state and federal firearms law than I. Additionally, I have spent approximately $15,000 hosting receptions at your hotel, and have attended many others as a guest of other elected officials and the Republican party. I can reasonably state that tens of thousands of dollars of future revenue may be in jeopardy if this senseless policy remains in effect.

I recognize there is a great deal of misunderstanding about Texas firearms law, and frequently premise holders believe posting signs may be required by law in oder to achieve some desirable objective. In other words, posting these signs is not always an informed decision.

While I am not an attorney, I am more than willing to explain Texas firearms law to anyone with the Hilton Hotel corporation. I’m very qualified to do so since I authored most of the laws pertaining to carrying handguns while I was a member of the Texas legislature.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jerry Patterson
Commissioner, Texas General Land Office

posted by Charles L. Cotton on Mar 21

Here is a press release concerning a very good candidate for the Leander ISD Board of Trustees. Please give Nathan your support.


Nathan Deckinga
Candidate for Leander ISD Board of Trustees place 6

Nathan Deckinga believes that a good leader must be a great servant and is asking for your support in the May 10th election for Leander ISD Board of Trustees place 6. He is a devoted husband and loving father. His children, ages 2 and 5, currently attend Good Shepherd preschool and Winkley Elementary School respectively. Nathan has lived in LISD for nearly 10 years, central Texas for 23, and has over 12 years experience in the local computer industry. He is active in his church and is a volunteer with Leander ISD – currently assisting with the RunTex Born 2 Run program at Running Brushy.

Nathan Deckinga recognizes that Leander ISD is undergoing significant changes and growth and that the solutions and style that worked so well 10 years ago might not provide the answers that are needed today. “Leander ISD has a great community of teachers and staff who do everything they can for the students. It is unfortunate that those dealing directly with the students on a daily basis are not more empowered to suggest and effect changes in the district. There is a sense that the board does not listen to its greatest asset, the teachers. I intend to change that by providing a method to anonymously report problems and request changes, but most importantly I promise to act on any information received,” said Nathan.

Fiscal responsibility also plays a role in Nathan’s candidacy. “With Leander ISD growing as rapidly as it is, we must respect the duty as public servants of being good stewards of the money entrusted to us while still providing for the needs of every student.”

Nathan also recognizes that each student is unique and has different learning strengths and opportunities. “Each student deserves the very best that we can give. Everyone needs to be challenged and excited to learn every day at school. The programs currently in place are a great start, but they need to be expanded to provide opportunities for all students. We must provide services and resources where they are needed, instead of providing them where it is easiest.”

“We owe it to our teachers and students to be open and honest with them in all things.”

Nathan Deckinga for Leander ISD place 6.
Academic Excellence.
Administrator Accountability.

posted by Charles L. Cotton on Feb 25

Attorneys going to the 2008 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits should consider attending the National Firearms Law Seminar and get CLE credit while having a great time. Here is a link to the website for more information and to register for the program.

This is offered every year at the Annual Meeting and it always gets a great response!! This is coming from a guy that hates to sit to CLE seminars.


posted by Charles L. Cotton on Feb 22

Early voting for the Texas Primary is underway and will end on February 29th. The Primary is Tuesday, March 4th. Please check the TSRA Primary Voters Guide and be sure to vote! This Primary and general election could significantly change the playing field and we need everyone to help send true Second Amendment supporters to Austin and Washington.


posted by Charles L. Cotton on Feb 9

I have created the TexasCHL Blog as a component of an information and discussion network called the (a/k/a “the Forum”). The first component of the forum was a discussion bulletin board launched in December of 2004 with the intent that it would top out around 200 members. Well, that estimate was a bit low; we are now over 2,700 members and the rate of growth is increasing. In January, 2008, TexasCHLforum had 5.2 million hits on the website.

The TexasCHLforum has become an excellent and well-respected source for information on Texas gun laws and many other subjects related to guns and shooting. It also enjoys a reputation of being a friendly place on the web where people can post questions, comments and opinions without fear of being flamed or the target of personal attacks. Parents can be comfortable recommending TexasCHLforum to the kids knowing that they will not be subject to vulgar, suggestive or inappropriate language in their search for information. The TexasCHLforum’s excellent reputation is the result of the dedication of its members. While the site does have moderators, their workload is not has heavy as one might expect, based upon other Internet discussion forums. I and all of the Moderators have often commented on and thanked the members for the respect they show others, even when opinions differ significantly. I do not claim there are never any posts that have to be edited or deleted, but they are very few in number and they are handled quickly.

What that background, you may wonder why the TexasCHL Blog was created. The mission of the Blog will likely change as time passes, just as the mission of expanded with the passage of time and with its unexpected growth. For now, I intend to use the Blog as another information source for the subject matter listed in the Categories. However, as we get into the 2008 Presidential Election campaign in full force, I plan to use it to provide information on the campaigns, as well as the efforts of the Brady Campaign and their ilk. Of course, during that time we will also be keenly interested in our elections in Texas and I’ll be providing information on that issue as well. Finally, the Blog will be used to update readers on the status of various bills during the 2009 Texas Legislative Session that begins in January.

No, the Blog will not replace my posts on the, nor will I forgo posting and updating my Bill Status reports on the forum. The Blog is just one more way to keep interested parties informed. I’m sure there will be many cross-posts on the Blog and on the Forum.

You will soon see more additions to the The discussion forum will always remain the backbone of that information system, but I have a number of features to add in the near future that will make the combined components even more useful.

Thanks for stopping by,

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