By Anne Marie Mackin
There can be spirited debate about the protective reach of either the First or Second Amendment, but Texans famously recognize the importance of both. What’s odd — given our state’s respect for the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms — is that Texas shows comparatively little regard for the First Amendment’s promise that citizens shall be subject to no law “abridging the freedom of speech.”
It is perhaps unexpected in a state so famous for safeguarding liberty, but Texans are freer to obtain firearms than they are to join together to speak out about the elections and issues that impact their daily lives. Indeed, Texas imposes no waiting period upon aspiring gun owners; nonfelons over 18 without mental health issues can obtain a gun in as little time as it takes to complete a short form. (A form, mind you, required by the federal government — not the state).
But a group of citizens wishing to organize around a shared opinion and speak out about an election must wait at least 60 days before doing so.