Amidst chants of “Read the law,” Texas Department of Public Safety officers arrested two men on October 26 for open carrying legal antique firearms at a rally in front of the State Capitol in Austin.
Under Texas law, firearms made prior to 1899 are exempt from open carry restrictions. The law prohibits open carrying of modern handguns but has no restriction for long guns. Texas code prohibits display of a “deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.” A San Antonio ordinance restricts firearms in public parks or at political rallies: this is the issue at the root of the controversy. The gun rights group wants the restriction lifted.
“Open Carry Texas” staged an event at the Alamo back in August called “Come and Take It.” The protest sparked a furious debate when Jerry Patterson, a pro-gun Marine Veteran, former Senator, and Texas land commissioner, granted the group access to the Texas historical site. Protestors showed up armed with guns, something which broke with tradition and sparked complaints from Texans who view the site as a “family burial” spot.
Men from the open carry group were charged at a local Starbucks when they went in with their rifles back in August. It only took one woman who freaked out at the appearance of the weapons to cause a ruckus. She felt “menaced.”
Along comes the rally on Saturday at the Capitol in Austin. Two men were carrying unloaded black powder pistols from prior to 1899. The Texas troopers faced with the ever-growing anger in the crowd, take down the two men who were carrying the firearms and handcuff them.