September 1 must have been celebration day at the National Rifle's Association headquarters when Gov. Rick Perry signed laws allowing Texans to protect themselves at home and while traveling.

Chris Cox, Chief NRA lobbyist, was pleased with the Texas Legislature for working to pass the vital legislation.

However, calls to numerous gun stores and practice ranges confirmed people are not flocking to their businesses. Firearm licenses have not increased. Nor has there been a rush to purchase weapons or overcrowding at the firing ranges.

An employee of the Fort Worth Shooter's Club said, “There has been no noticeable increase. The past year saw increases, but not since the laws went into effect.”

Perhaps readiness was already in place.

The Winchester Gallery Gun Store, also in Fort Worth, reported the same.

“It's a little soon,” an employee said. “My concern is that you can't take a weapon into Wal-Mart. But thieves will assume guns have been concealed and break into vehicles to find them.”

HB 1038 appears to be an encouragement for senior citizens to own a weapon since the bill reduces the fee for renewal of a concealed handgun permit for senior citizens by 50 percent.

Although authorities want citizens to get a concealed gun license for travel, the law does not specifically state it is required.

There are several points to remember regarding the concealed weapon statute.

€ The weapon must be concealed. It cannot be on the seat or anywhere in plain sight.

€ It is still illegal for anyone involved in or has been involved in criminal activities

€ No member of a criminal street gang or a convicted or subject of a protective order may conceal a weapon.

€ Texas laws are not comparable to other states. When traveling over state lines, be certain to be aware of its laws.

Women have answered the call to arms. Second Amendment Sisters was founded in 1999 by five women who met through the Internet. For five months they quietly planned rallies to present 2nd Amendment rights to other women. It is their belief that gun control promotes crime - that innocent victims have had no means legally to protect themselves, especially women.

Mary Thompson of Texas, founder and current president of SAS, said the surge of women using weapons came after 9/11. And with each national scare, such as the family murdered in Connecticut in July and violence during Hurricane Katrina, push more women to the practice ranges.

“We have taught three to four thousand women to shoot,” Thompson said. “There are members in every state. Generally speaking, women need women teachers, so there is ongoing training certification for female teachers.”

SAS National Spokesperson Genie Jennings of Maine, said the organization is open to women 18-80.

“Self defense is a basic human right. We are teaching women this principle,” she said.

Presently, there are 10,000 members in the database.

“Our thought is that the more who know that many will be carrying guns, it will make us all safer,” she said. :We join NRA's commendation of your governor's going forward and promoting these new laws.”

The concept of citizens or “subjects” protecting their property and themselves dates back to the 12th century when King Henry II obligated all freemen to possess certain arms for defense.

Texas, it seems, is catching up with history.

Information for this story was supplement from Second Amendment Sisters, www.2sisters.org

SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at sherry.boardman@empiretribune.com or 254-968-3124, ext 229.