First and foremost, I am a bit surprised that Mr. Bush carried a firearm into a city council meeting.
Under Texas state law, even those with a valid Texas License to Carry are forbidden to carry a firearm in council chambers when a meeting is in progress. As far as I know, the only exception to this law is made for law enforcement officers and certain sworn officers employed by district attorneys, some judges, and enforcement officers of other government agencies.
IIRC, a person violating that prohibition can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in county jail.
It is perfectly legal for a licensed individual to carry a handgun into a non-federal government building with certain exceptions, such as police stations and jails, but not in the specific areas of those buildings while a government meeting is in session.
Remember that Texas is one of the minority of American states to require a permit to carry a handgun in virtually all circumstances other than in a person’s residence or on their private property, on the premises of a business owned or controlled by the citizen, or in a motor vehicle or watercraft operated by the person. 32 states allow a handgun to be openly carried without a permit and 16 of those states don’t require a permit to carry a concealed handgun (constitutional carry).
Incidentally, according to the FBI’s 2017 UCR report, the four states with the lowest homicide rates were all constitutional carry states.
As to the claims made by Mr. Quiggle:
The NEJM article cited has been questioned on the basis of the data sources and interpretation. A summary of the challenges can be found here.
Mr. Quiggle takes the actions of a rather small number of individuals and tries to make a judgement on all individuals who choose to carry. Data from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicates that those holding a Texas LTC are actually less likely to break the law than almost any other group, including law enforcement officers. The homicide rate in Texas plunged following the creation of a concealed carry permitting system that went into effect in 1996. In the most recent year for which we have nationwide data, the homicide rate in Texas was lower than the national average.
Did Mr. Bush at any time directly present a clear threat to Ms. Doherty? Merely carrying a firearm does not constitute a threat. How Ms. Doherty reacts to the presence of a firearm is her personal decision, not a justification for restriction or censure.
The National Bureau of Economic Research report has also been challenged including in a Rand Corporation study published in 2018. Rand determined that there is no conclusive evidence linking concealed carry laws and homicide rates. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any cause-and-effect relationship between gun laws in general and the incidence of violent crime.
Despite the acknowledgment that there was a significant increase in retail gun sales beginning on 2008 and tapering off by about 2012, the U.S. homicide rate declined. In fact, by 2014, the FBI reported that the homicide rate was the lowest recorded since 1957.
The issuance of concealed carry licenses has also risen dramatically. It was estimated there were about 17.25 million active carry permits in the U.S. in 2017.
Mr. Bush’s claim that city hall is a soft target is borne out by the number of shooting events that have taken place in city buildings and during government meetings. This includes the recent mass shooting in Virginia Beach. Of course, this must be measured against the reality that such incidents are extremely rare.
To be honest, Mr. Bush does not owe anyone an explanation for his carrying of a firearm. So long as he has complied with the legal requirements, he is well within his rights to carry (with the possible exception cited above). Had Mr. Bush been carrying a concealed firearm, also perfectly legal with a Texas LTC, he would still have been armed, quite possibly with the same handgun he carried openly. Ms. Doherty would have been in exactly as much danger and the danger might have even been greater, as she would have been unaware that Mr. Bush was in possession of a handgun.
Any citizen of Texas who holds a valid License to Carry or holds a permit issued by any other state recognized under Texas’ reciprocity agreements, is allowed to openly carry a handgun. The sole restriction is that the handgun must be carried in either a belt holster or in a visible shoulder holster.
If Mr. Quiggle is going to hold himself out as a supporter of gun rights, he should take the time to learn what those rights include.