My only question is, what was the open carry org’s objective? To pick a fight or actually urge the support of House Bill 195? Because if it was the later, they definitely didn’t convince these two House members.
On Tuesday, around 15 to 20 members of the group Open Carry Tarrant County visited several lawmaker offices urging them to support House Bill 195, which seeks to undo Texas’ 125-year ban on the open carry of handguns. Several House members, including Democrats Poncho Nevarez of Eagle Pass and Celia Israel of Austin, said the group hassled them or their staff.
In a video posted to Facebook by Kory Watkins, the gun group’s leader, on Tuesday, open carry activists can be heard calling Nevarez “a tyrant to the Constitution” and telling him he “won’t be here very long, bro.”
“As I understand from my staff briefing, that this very same group came to my office, I just wasn’t here,” said Martinez Fischer, saying his staff felt “uncomfortable.” The eight-term House member said he’d never experienced “advocacy that gets personal and phsycial.”
“Sounds to me like it was a very hostile siutation that not only impacted the offices’ environment, but also bled out into the hallaway,” he said. “And I don’t think any of that is approproate.”
Reached for comment Wednesday, Watkins said, “We need a panic button for people who don’t obey their oath to Constitution.”
He also replied to cricitisms from fellow open carry advocate CJ Grisham, who heads the unaffiliated Open Carry Texas, calling Watkins “a malignant cancer for the gun rights movement” and saying his group’s actions could actually negatively impact the chances of passing open carry legislation this year.
“I love CJ Grisham. I love Open Carry Texas,” said Watkins. “We’re all fighting for the same thing.”
Watkins reposted a portion of the video on Facebook and YouTube Wednesday morning, in which the cameraman can be heard responding to Nevarez’s request for him to leave by stating, “You need to leave my state.”
Read more: Houston Chronicle