NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Look who’s at it again: Tarrant County’s gun toting activists, Open Carry Tarrant County. Saturday’s target was North Richland Hills, and these guys packed some serious heat.
“The goal today is just to educate Texans on our lack of rights as far as guns go,” Kory Watkins of Open Carry Texas said. “We’re one of five states that don’t allow open carry with a hand gun and that’s what we want.”
We’ve heard this story before. These guys have already come under fire in Arlington. The city recently passed an ordinance that prevents the group from passing out pamphlets on public streets. As a result, Open Carry then filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the city was muzzling its rights.
“We would rather carry our hand guns, our pistols,” Watkins says. “We want to put up the rifles and do our pistols.”
Yet, the group has also experienced other opposition and backlash in recent days. Restaurants like Chipolte and Sonic have asked Open Carry to keep their guns out of their establishments. With heightened sensitivity to gun control issues, and given the current emotional environment in the wake of the deadly Santa Barbara shootings, was this a bad time for a gun rally?
“Absolutely not,” member Daniel Wood said. “Lets go with the South by Southwest and the guy who went and ran all of those people over, did we go and ask people to stop driving their cars for sometime.”
But not everyone is gun crazy.
“When I was watching the news and they showed the marine that was confronted last weekend,” opponent Glynn Wolcox said. The protestor held a sign that read: “Real Men Use Words.”
Wolcox was among a handful of protestors at Saturday’s rally. He likened some of the member’s behavior to that of bullying.
At least no one shot from the hip at this event; a good thing considering how much firepower was in the area.
“Guns are guns,” Wolcox argued to the gun rights supporters. “Why do they have to be brandished?”
“Today was the most reasonable conversation I’ve ever had with one of our opponents,” member David Murray said. “Most of the time, they yell curse words at us.”
In the end Wolcox and and some of the gun rights advocates shook hands and took a picture together. Hey, it’s a start.