Equal Time Response to TTAG Post on Ft Worth Stockyard Shootouts

Stockyard Station Gunfight

Back in December of 2012, I busted out the ol’ snark shillelagh on Dennis Merrill and hit him pretty darn hard with it. He had raised a stink to a local TV station over the wild west shootout reenactments the Ft. Worth Stockyards put on for tourists, claiming that they were inappropriate. Keep in mind that this was only about a week after the Sandy Hook shootings. Well Mr. Merrill just ran across my post and I agreed to give him equal time to present his objection to the rootin’ tootin’ shootin’. Make the jump for his side of the story . . .

The reason that I object the Gunfight Reenactments in Fort Worth is that they, as I understand it, are ILLEGAL. A Fort Worth Police Dept. Desk Sergeant informed me that it is the Law in in Texas that Thou Shall Not Carry an Openly displayed Pistol on the Streets of Fort Worth. There is NO special Waiver available to Gunfight Re-enactors.

He then told me that those were not REAL Guns that the Gunfighters carry. I called the Reenactment Group and they assured me that the Pistols they used were 45 Cal. Revolvers shooting blanks. The Law makes no allowances for wax bullets.

As you are aware, a Gunfight Reenactment in South Dakota went horribly wrong and one of the Re-enactors, a convicted Felon gets to the Shootout and forgets to change to blanks. Sadly 3 Tourists were shot. I would like to see some changes made concerning these Shows. No. 1 would be that Police enforce the Laws currently on the Books across the Board.


  1. avatar JWM says:

    There were no exemtions to the 30 round mag ban in DC but a reporter got a pass on a felony charge. The point your trying to make is?

    1. avatar David in NC says:

      “But Bush did this…” or “But Republicans did that…”

      Let’s try to stay on topic without lessening ourselves to those asinine deflection responses used by the lefties and so often criticized by the majority of us right here at TTAG.

    2. avatar CB Demented says:

      So you’re going to go with the “Well they did it too” defense? Really?

      I wasn’t aware we were supposed to address this subject as if we were in 3rd grade.

    3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      You two are missing JWM’s point. Merrill claims that he’s against these reenactments because they’re supposedly illegal and that he just wants the laws on the books enforced. Well. Merrill’s deafening silence on a far more high profile illegal act by a wealthy and well connected jornalist puts the lie to his oh so straight arrow motivation here.

      There’s no comparison to Obama and the Democrats constantly blaming Bush, either. That comparison is silly. Those people blame Bush purely as a distraction. Instead of addressing their own problems, they harp on what someone else did a decade ago. That’s not what’s happening here, because JWM is citing this same individual’s own differing reactions to two contemporary alleged illegal firearms-related actions.

      I get that superficially there’s kinda sorta some similarity, in that two things are being referenced in both instances. However, the nature of the comparisons is entirely different, especially since the Bush references aren’t even comparisons, per se, but rather extraneous advertences.

  2. avatar KingSarc48625 says:

    Its also against the law to use an elephant to plow your cotton fields in North Carolina.

    There are alot of stupid laws out there.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Indian elephants or African elephants?
      Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. avatar KingSarc48625 says:

        Probably african. Whichever PT Barnham used in his show. He would send one ahead and have it plow fields to promote that the show was coming to town. Problem is, he did this without permission from the landowner.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          Definitely Asian/Indian. The Africans are not domesticated or domesticable.

        2. avatar JohnO says:

          To Mark N. Asian elephants are not domesticated. They are all caught in the wild and tamed. African elephants have been tamed to work and for war, although it is more difficult. Here’s a current example http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2967868/Nelly-bomb-disposal-expert-African-Elephants-trained-sniff-explosives-poachers-sense-smell-rival-sniffer-dogs.html

        3. avatar BlueBronco says:

          Hannibal had at least 80 African elephants on hand to intimidate enemy troops.

      2. avatar Grindstone says:

        [Insert African Swallow joke here]

        1. avatar JWM says:

          It’s gonna take more than a little string and 2 swallows to air lift Jumbo.

    2. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Here, it is illegal to shoot a rabbit from a covered wagon, sell a car on Sunday, or bring your horse to the second floor of a bar.

      Had to add to it, my apologies.

      On topic, isn’t that done on private property, therefore the open carry statute has no ground?

      1. avatar Justsomeguy says:

        Some of it spills out into the street

  3. avatar John L. says:

    Two years later…?

  4. avatar Sian says:

    Ya know, he’s got a point, re-enacting with guns that are capable of firing real ammunition is a huge liability issue, and purpose built blank firing replicas that can’t chamber the real stuff are really quite cheap.

    And we’re always on about police enforcing the laws we already have before trying to make new ones.

    1. avatar JustAMan says:

      I totally agree!

    2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      The Fort Worth Stockyards is 98 acres of privately own property, incorporated in 1893.

    3. avatar TTACer says:

      He does not have a point, in the sense that this is not a real rebuttle to the original article. He is quoted: “To me, it’s a little insensitive, in light of the Aurora and the Connecticut shootings.” Apparently having missed a daily supplement or two, he went on, evidently with the families of the Sandy Hook victims in mind:

      That family is not going to celebrate and, God forbid, if one of them was down here and saw this gun fight … It’s not really anything to make a show out of.”

      The original quote is no longer on the source page so I don’t know if he said anything about the law there, but his response is disengenous.

  5. avatar dh34 says:

    More info is needed, but according to TX law:

    3) “Firearm” means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is:
    (A) an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899; or
    (B) a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim fire or center fire ammunition.


    (j) The provisions of Section 46.02 prohibiting the carrying of handgun do not apply to an individual who carries a handgun as a participant in a historical reenactment performed in accordance with the rules of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

    Myth: busted.

    1. Your reply is messed up, fyi. Links are broke (or were they supposed to be embeds?).

      1. avatar dh34 says:

        Think I fixed it. They were links from the statute page.

    2. avatar PeterZ in West Tennessee says:

      The reenactments I used to watch in Houston used replica cap and ball revolvers, which are exempt under Texas law.

      1. avatar dh34 says:

        Historical Reenactments are exempted from the handgun rules. The type doesn’t matter. As long as they aren’t using live ammo.

  6. avatar Gman says:

    The reason that I object the Gunfight Reenactments in Fort Worth is that they, as I understand it, are ILLEGAL. A Fort Worth Police Dept. Desk Sergeant informed me that it is the Law in in Texas that Thou Shall Not Carry an Openly displayed Pistol on the Streets of Fort Worth. There is NO special Waiver available to Gunfight Re-enactors

    Texas Law: © 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes. 11250 Waples Mill Rd. Fairfax, VA 22030 1-800-392-8683(VOTE)
    Antiques and Replicas

    Antique or curio guns manufactured before 1899 and replicas thereof which do not use rim fire or center fire ammunition are not included in the definition of “firearm” as it is used in Texas Penal Code Title 10, Chapter 46, which governs weapons.


    A person commits an offense of unlawfully carrying a weapon if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun on or about his or her person unless the person is on one’s own premise or premises under the person’s control or inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person’s control. It is unlawful to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carry on or about one’s person a handgun in a motor vehicle if the handgun is in plain view or the person is engaged in criminal activity (other than a misdemeanor traffic violation), prohibited by law from possessing a firearm or is a member of a street gang.

    Perhaps their actions aren’t illegal. Perhaps the guns used were produced before 1899 or perhaps the premises are under the person’s control (i.e. the owner really does want them to do this on his property).
    This guy is just another left leaning, history rewriting, turbo whining power sniveler.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      You missed the part about not firing rimfire or centerfire ammo. the 1873 SAA fires center fire ammo. What this law exempts are cap and ball pistols.

      1. avatar dh34 says:

        Reenactment are exempted by statute.

        1. avatar Dennis Merrell says:

          As for waiting 2 years, I just found this. Couple of points, yes the shooter in S.D. was a convicted Felon ( anybody up there ever heard of a background check?) He got 7 more years for this “mistake”. What if you or your Family were the ones who got shot? BTW, I built the Cattle Drive for the City of Fort Worth and I am the reason that the Drovers don’t carry guns. ( Most Trail bosses outlawed them on the drives. In town , you were on your own.) The Gunfights that I watched were on “Public” Streets or sidewalks. I’m a stickler on gun safety. ( Comes from watching a Tennessee Bootlegger shoot my Brother when I was 13). In reality, people don’t get up and dust themselves off and laugh after a gunfight. They put them in boxes and stick them in the ground. I have been shot at 7 times ( with real bullets). They make a funny sound going past your ear. I have used a pistol myself. 2 Bikers were gonna whip my Ass on my own property. They didn’t get it done and 1 of them went to jail. Deputy told me I should have killed him. My pistol inflicted $12,000 damage to a New Harley. I was also Foreman of a Large Ranch that had 16 Deer Blinds and many Quail , Dove and Duck hunters. 0 gun incidents while I was in charge. I’m not anti gun , just a stickler on gun safety. If everyone that can afford a “Costume and Pistol” can walk around a Tourist Area packing, Risk Management needs to step in and audit the plan. Some weekends we had 30,000 visitors to the Stockyards. Doesn’t take much for a Terrorist to come to town, buy guns and ammo and a hat and costume and blend right in. I’m sure all you CHL’s would protect us. BTW, do not go into one of the numerous bars packing ( if 51% of their revenue comes from alcohol sales) . You would be in violation of the Law. Now you kids go play nice with each other and teach your children how to “Play” with guns. BTW, Mr. Zimmerman , you said you were going to apologize for your derogatory comments about me. I must have missed it.

      2. avatar brainman says:

        You missed the part where it says the centerfire ammo thing applies to replicas.

        1. avatar Joel says:

          It’s private property. They can load an AR-15 full of blanks and re-enact the school shooting without breaking the law. It would be distasteful. But not illegal.

    2. avatar PavePusher says:

      Nope, you’re still a moron.

  7. avatar B Fitts says:

    Stockyards are private property…

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Ding! We have a winner!

    2. avatar David in NC says:

      Boom. Thanks for playing, Dennis. Next?

    3. avatar Jim R says:

      And historical reenactments are exempted anyway.

    4. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Private property. Beat me to it.

  8. avatar Bobby McKellar says:

    Opinion noted Mr. Merrill. No fu!%’s given here. Thank you.

  9. avatar juliesa says:

    His original objection was that the gun fights are “insensitive”, so he’s just trying, unsuccessfully, to use the law to get rid of something he considers icky.

    I can see a safety problem if they’re using real guns though. I don’t know much about re-enactors, but I assume they have some stringent safety procedures.

  10. avatar William says:

    Do the police in Texas open carry?

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      I’ve yet to see a uniformed cop anywhere in the US or Texas that doesn’t.

      1. avatar Leboy says:

        Contrary to what cops might think and say,they are civilians,firemen seem to think they are not civilians too,they are.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      That’s “different”.

  11. avatar Rog Uinta says:

    So Mr. Merrill, now you say:

    “The reason that I object the Gunfight Reenactments in Fort Worth is that they, as I understand it, are ILLEGAL.”

    Well, that’s a nice try, but you actually objected because:

    “To me, it’s a little insensitive, in light of the Aurora and the Connecticut shootings.”

    Try to stay focused. But then again, that aforementioned low testosterone issue also has been known to impair memory. So I guess you get a pass this time, as long as you remember to take your supplements in the future.

  12. avatar PPGMD says:

    If the Stockyards is private property the owner can give permission to their people to open carry.

    Now I do agree there are safety concerns. And hopefully they have a process of checking for safety.

    1. avatar dennis says:

      The streets and sidewalks are NOT private Property Asshole.

  13. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

    Was whatsisname the felon a felon before he inadvertently gunned three customers, or is that the felony he was convicted for?
    In any case, pointing a working firearm at someone you don’t intend to kill is a rule violation.

  14. avatar Ing says:

    So four years ago there was an accident… And that means we must ban the entire type of entertainment people were enjoying when the incident occurred?

    No. Go away.

  15. avatar the ruester says:

    The idea here was that they were supposed to be wagging their invincible finger of shame in our faces. When a high profile mass killing happens, we are supposed to all shrink down, put our noses in a corner, and think about what we did wrong. In this case the moratorium was supposed to last just long enough for them to quit crying to gaia and figure out how to put us in prison. We were NOT supposed to actually fight back, and they did NOT expect a majority to agree with us. Everything they have done since has been damage control and re-branding, such as this authors revisionism which seeks to blunt the obvious (and tired) ugly American routine of his original post.

    1. avatar MudPuppy says:

      That is an excellent quote: “When a high profile mass killing happens, we are supposed to all shrink down, put our noses in a corner, and think about what we did wrong. “

  16. avatar Grindstone says:

    The guy has a point. And the fact that they’re using REAL guns and not specially-made replicas should really raise eyebrows. Especially since they’re a) shooting around hundreds of tourists and b) using real guns that can readily be loaded with live ammo.
    Not a good mix no matter how you slice it.

    1. avatar PavePusher says:


    2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Except no one has ever been shot, for real.

      They also do cattle drives down the streets, the same streets where vehicles and people legally travel.

      It’s not a big deal, the tourist enjoy it.

      I swear, the Safety Sallys are going to ruin all fun in the world in name of safety.

    3. avatar dennis says:

      THANK YOU!

  17. avatar foo dog says:

    Mr Merrill’s objection is an invalid argument.
    His taste preferences do not trump private property rights.

    No more than the Social Justice Warriors preferences on hawaiian shirt designs should be used to shut up or demean the Chief Scientist of the Mars mission, not to long ago.

    Thw multi-culti post modern justifcation for censorship, ie “the perspective” or “triggering” of the speaker supercedes 1A rights is completely out of hand. And equally invalid when advocated for 2A rights.

    RF was right two years ago, and his points are even more valid now.

  18. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    A lady once came up to me, quite agitated, saying that I should not be carrying a gun because it made her “feel” afraid and uncomfortable.

    I smiled and asked her what she would do if I told her the dress she was wearing made me “feel” uncomfortable. Would she strip it off right there?

    Her look of horror was quite enough answer. Then I told her, “I’m not responsible for how you “feel,” nor for your comfort. Have a good day.”

  19. avatar dennis says:

    Once again , the Streets and sidewalks in Fort Worth are NOT Private Property. The guns are fully functional and capable of firing live rounds. The kid in So. Carolina was just playing , he didn’t mean to use live bullets in a church. There are NO EXEMPTIONS in Texas for play gunfights. Good luck to all you wordy SOB’s that think this is funny. Point a gun at me and I’ll shove it up your ass.

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