A group of Texans marched in downtown Arlington Sunday with rifles in hand to draw attention to what the Arlington Voice says they're calling an "absurd" rule.
“Right now, Texas is one of seven states that do not allow open carry with a pistol,” 30-year-old Daniel Wood told the Arlington Voice. “Every one of us out here would much rather open carry our pistol than open carry our rifle.”
Other groups have been conducting open-carry marches as well. Here members of the pro-gun organization Come and Take it Houston walk down Travis Street armed with their guns as part of a rally to educate people about local gun laws Thursday, July 4, 2013, in Houston. (Photo: AP/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson)
The group peacefully walked down the blocks after alerting local businesses beforehand so they wouldn't be alarmed. There was a police presence for the march that participants say they understood but felt was a bit excessive.
“I can understand having this kind of police presence for our first walk in Arlington,” Wood said of the six officers in three police cruisers. “Moving forward, now that they see we’re law-abiding citizens, I think six would be overboard at a second walk. We really just want to show people that a guy with a gun is not necessarily a bad thing.”
The group's efforts is part of the larger Open Carry Texas, which states its purpose as:
Our purpose is to 1) educate all Texans about their right to openly carry rifles and shotguns in a safe manner; 2) to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them; 3) encourage our elected officials to pass less restrictive open carry legislation; and (4) foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the furtherance of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters.
Similar walks to the one staged in Arlington are publicized through Open Carry Texas, and other states have been conducting them as well.
In a separate experiment, a pastor in Huntsville, Texas, -- Terry Holcomb Sr. -- recently exercised his open carry rights, filming himself walking into various public establishments with an AR-15 Bushmaster slung around his back. KHOU-TV reported that the firearm was loaded, the chamber empty and the safety was on.
Pastor Holcomb was carrying his rifle for the same reason as those who marched in Arlington.
Holcomb took his rifle into Walmart but was soon asked to leave given that they serve alcohol on the property. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
“We don’t want to carry our long guns,” Holcomb told KHOU. "We would prefer open carry our handguns. But since this is the option they give us this is what we do and we’ll continue to do it until they remove that restriction.”
When Holcomb walked into a local Walmart, which has a no-filming, no open-carry policy, it isn't long before they ask him to leave the store, a request with which he complies:
Check out more of Holcomb's open carry videos on his YouTube channel.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.