Protesters Organize for ‘Open-Carry’ in San Antonio
Outside of San Antonio, more than 80 individuals gathered to protest a city ordinance that bans civilians from openly carrying loaded firearms, according to local media outlet KSAT. The rally was conceived after 19-year-old Henry Vichique was arrested and stunned with a taser for open-carrying a loaded firearm--that incident was caught on video.
Citizens gathered on April 6 protested a city ordinance that states it is illegal "to carry a loaded rifle or shotgun on any public street." Members with the activist group Open Carry Texas, many of whom were present at the recent event, assert that ordinance violates Texas law.
Texas is not currently a traditional open-carry state. According to the Texas Constitution, long gun open carry is not forbidden by law, unless it is done in a manner "calculated to cause alarm." The open carry of handguns, however, is not permitted. Article 1, Section 23 of the Texas Constitution reads, "Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime."
According to local the San Antonio Express-News, Sunday's protest was peaceful and relatively low-key. A few of the protesters, however, admitted to breaking the city ordinance by attending the event with a loaded firearm.
Vichique attended the event and argued that his arrest was unlawful because it violated state law. "This isn't going to stand," he proclaimed to the other protesters, adding that the cops who tasered and arrested him "wanted to be above the law."
Open Carry Texas President C.J. Grisham was in attendance on Sunday. "Many of us had loaded firearms, and nobody was arrested, miraculously," he told Breitbart Texas. "We were protesting an illegal ordinance. Local law is very specific: cities may not prohibit the carrying of firearms."
Indeed, local government code 229.001 states that "a municipality may not adopt regulations relating to... the carrying of a firearm or air gun by a person."
Grisham told the crowd on Sunday that more Texans in support of gun rights should make their voices heard by attending City Council meetings and reaching out to other state politicians.
Mark C. Brown, Chairman Emeritus of the Texas Young Republicans Federation (TYRF), told Breitbart Texas that the views of Sunday's protesters are reflected by young people around the state.
"Most young Republicans see no problem with the open carrying of handguns by responsible, law-abiding adults and believe that state laws should be expanded to allow for open carry," Brown said.
Brown mentioned that during the last legislative session, TYRF organized a day to meet with state representatives and advocate for the passing of HB 706, a bill that would permit carrying firearms on college campuses.
Moving forward, Grisham's group plans to promote open carry in cities throughout Texas. In the short term, however, they are focused on overturning San Antonio's "illegal" ordinance.
"If the City Council refuses to act, we're going to the Attorney General to file an official complaint," Grisham told Breitbart Texas. "As a Texan, I am offended that I cannot keep and protect arms in the home of the Alamo."
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