The Texas State Capitol in Austin may be one of the most well-armed buildings in the state, says the New York Times. Legislators walk the hallways, attend committee hearings, meet with constituents in their offices and vote in their respective chambers while armed with licensed pistols tucked beneath their suits or slipped into their boots or purses. Of the 181 members of the State House and Senate, dozens have concealed-carry permits and routinely have their weapons with them in the building, current and former lawmakers said.
One source estimated that 35 legislators carry weapons. Some said the estimate was too high. A state NRA official said it was too low. “There's a couple who, I used to say, their desks would qualify as a gun show,” the official said. At recent house committee hearings, Rep. Jonathan Stickland sat listening to testimony while wearing a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol. “This is probably one of the most well-armed buildings in the state,” said Stickland, a freshman Republican from Bedford, near Fort Worth. “When you grow up around guns and you feel comfortable with what they can do, and you know how to use them and you respect them, there's really nothing to fear.”