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Texans continue to march in support of Second Amendment rights. After Derek Poe was arrested for disorderly conduct while carrying a rifle slung over his back with the muzzle down to a gun shop in the Parkdale mall a month ago, supporters organized an open carry march in Beaumont . . .


Marching along Dowlen Road in Beaumont Saturday with rifles slung on their backs and signs in the air, dozens of Southeast Texans exercised their right to openly carry long arms.  It is a right they feel is being attacked.

“The United States Constitution is being trampled,” said one marcher.
Saturday’s march was organized by the Beaumont chapter of Come and Take It America (CATI), an organization that fights for Second Amendment rights.

If you can be arrested for the peaceful exercise of a constitutional right, then the right has been effectively nullified by the police. The reporter, Adam Wright, makes a crucial misstatement about the law:

Under Texas law, you can openly carry rifles and shotguns, but not handguns. You have to do so in a manner that does not cause alarm. That’s why police say Poe was charged with a crime, because people at the mall told authorities they were fearful.

That is simply not true. We get a good explanation of the law from opencarry.texas:

The Penal Code reads, “DISORDERLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly…(8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.”

The post goes into considerable detail to show what is clear from the first reading; that for a person to violate the law, they must have an intent to create alarm. It would make no sense to allow anyone to make an act illegal simply by claiming that it “alarmed” them.

If that were the case, anyone could violate another’s rights simply by claiming that they were scared, which is what seems to have happened in the Beaumont case. That would render senseless the Texas Constitution’s provision protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Concealed carry doesn’t fulfill the promise of the constitution, because the right is only granted after attending a course, paying a fee and obtaining a permit.

Commenters at the site are acutely aware of this point. From Diana E. Ramirez:

FYI to say that someone carried to cause alarm they have to prove the carrier was INTENDING to cause alarm. That would be by swinging his rifle or pointing it at others. Just because someone “feels” alarmed or offended doesn’t mean the other person was acting in an alarming or offensive manner. Burden of being alarming is on the actions of the carrier not the general public”s “feelings’.

As is often the case, the side supporting the Second Amendment and the state’s constitution seemed focused on the rule of law and logic. For some reason, those who push citizen disarmament seem to be focused more on the size of male sex organs.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

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  1. Seems like the appropriate thing to do is to report any police officer openly carrying a firearm to the police for disorderly conduct claiming you are alarmed by their display of firearms.

  2. Oh my word I’ve been quoted! 😀

    Diana R
    Founding member and admin at Moms With Guns Demand Action.
    Pro 2nd A moms group. We are in FB and have a website.

    • Went back, read your quote in the article, said “Huh, that’s funny that’s not what one of Shannon Watts’s dingbats would saiy… then I read it more closely.

      “Moms with Guns,” indeed. May your membership burgeon!

    • Yes yes and YES! It pleases me to see these groups rise in defiance of MDA.
      I tip my hat to you, mi lady

      • Because she’s got a gun to stop any asshole who tries to forcefully keep her in a kitchen.

      • I find this sort of “humor” profoundly irritating. How much have we complained that women don’t carry enough, aren’t enough into guns… then we pull this crap when one of them does carry and is into guns? Way to be welcoming! (Even if you think you are just joking, to us you are just a name on a screen and there’s no way to know you aren’t, in fact, a total jerk, like the assholes who proudly post “my girlfriend pwned by a shotgun” videos, who turn plenty of women into “I don’t want anything to do with his guns.”)

        • My girlfriends with guns are as much into guns as their husbands. I’d rather go to Cabela’s with my husband and spend the afternoon looking at the rifles and trying to figure out what I’ll need when I finally get loading equipment to learn to load my own ammo than go to the mall and shop for shoes (except boots, I’ll shop for boots any day).

          There are a lot of us, and if more guys were like you instead of the “my girlfriend was pwned by my shotgun” video guy there would be more.

          Carry On

  3. I am, in general, not thrilled with many open carriers “in your face” attitude. It’s not just offputting but looks intimidating to those not used to seeing someone walking around with a gun.

    That said, at a mere 40 years of age, I can remember as a child that having a firearm used to be no big deal. We’ve changed a lot in the last 30 years as a culture. Many kids have no idea that trucks used to have gun racks. Even in the small town where my brother-in-law lives, he keeps his coyote gun behind the truck seat for fear it may be stolen and certainly someone in town would probably get the vapors if they knew he was driving around with a loaded weapon. (Nevermind he has a concealed carry permit as well and served in Iraq)

    I also feel that this lack of general gun education, that treating them as objects of loathing, and not properly educating our children on firearms actually makes guns less safe. My kids know what to do around firearms and know when it is appropriate to handle them. I only lock up my guns because I have no such confidence in their friends.

    • Rob, I agree with much of your post. I do open carry myself sometimes, with a handgun though. It’s legal in Utah, and I almost never get a second glance when I’m OCing. However, people carrying rifles do tend to draw attention. I understand that they cannot OC handguns in TX, and I applaud them for exercising their 2A rights and OCing rifles, but some of the people who do so, should not. If you’re going to OC, you should act in the exact same manner as you would if you were NOT openly carrying. As far as people being “scared”, “alarmed”, or “offended” by it, well, I’m “alarmed” and “offended” by the actions of most “progressives”, so let’s make them illegal too, shall we?

      I too have children, and they have been around my firearms, listened to me talk about them and how we always obey the Big Four Rules of firearm safety, and the two eldest have been out shooting with me. I firmly believe that education is lacking when it comes to firearms. People hate what they fear, and they fear what they don’t understand.

    • What the hell does “serving” in Iraq have to do with anything? You just wanted a way to throw that in there, because most people will act (inexplicably) impressed.

    • Offputting…

      And, you know what? Rosa Parks could have sat in the back of that bus.

      If you want to keep your rights, you’re just going to have to live with making the people who want you in the back of the bus uncomfortable.

      • The complaint isn’t with the rifles, so much as the attitudes of the people carrying the rifles.

        Rosa Parks was effective because the ONLY offense she was causing was sitting in the “wrong” part of the bus. Everyone could see she was not *in fact* causing any real problems. She wasn’t confrontational, she wasn’t rude, she just sat in the front of the bus, and let the shitstorm come to her.

        Be a rude asshole with a rifle, and that reflects poorly. If you read people’s complaints about Open Carriers, you will see that in most cases they are complaining about rude and obnoxious people carrying the rifles–NOT that the rifle carry by itself is necessarily obnoxious. Be pleasant and courteous and happen to be carrying a rifle, safely, and it’s much less of a problem–you are showing people that normal, calm people can carry a rifle and it’s not a problem in any *real* sense of the word that they do.

        • Come And Take It (CATI) Texas, Texas Carry and Moms With Guns Demand Action have it the mission statement and the rules of conduct that we WILL conduct ourselves in a polite and cheerful manner. We will dress and act like normal people during our walks. We don’t wear camo or body armor and we hand out CATI flyers with the gun laws and pocket constitutions. We are approachable enough that in Austin Tx we have many good contacts and people have gotten used to us. We don’t taunt the police and if someone doesn’t like us and yells obscenities or talks to us in a nasty way we “smile and wave goodbye with a ‘have a nice day’ ” tacked on at the end.

          We pride ourselves in being just regular people with guns. Period.

        • I realize (now) I was sloppy in phrasing my first sentence and over-generalized. Certainly not all rifle carriers are rude and obnoxious. But it does seem as though the ones who are, are willfully ignoring the real cause of the problems they are having; they claim their critics are really anti-gun when the fact is their critics are anti-jerk.

          • Jerks always claim to be anti-jerk, and are quite “dick-ish” about it when confronted.

            The trick used to depict open carry advocates is the same one media uses against any group they hate, find one individual that appears to typify what they want to show the world and then stand there and poke, poke, poke, poke, poke until they get the response they want and ignore ALL OTHER people involved. Just get that few seconds of video/audio and then run it endlessly without end. This tactic is quite successful for jerks who call themselves “journalists”, and ignoring them does not work. THEN they screech at the top of their effeminate little voices that their rights are being violated by people refuses to speak to them. Nice little C22.

      • Rosa Parks was an individual defiantly making a point.

        What about all the civil rights marches (Selma? By the way, Barrack wasn’t there) where large numbers of people defied the laws and scared the crap out of a bunch of racist white folks. How is what they did any different from groups of people legally open-carrying their rifles?

        We have the law and the Constitution behind us. So long as we are civil and law-abiding (the Constitutional ones, that is), what difference does it make if we frighten, annoy or antagonize the pee-in-their-pants Liberals? There is no law they can attempt to pass that is any less unconstitutional than those already on the books and at some point they WILL over-step and a Constitutional crisis will have to be resolved.

        Were I in Texas I would buy or borrow a rifle just so I could join them in their march.

        • It’s not the pee-in-their-pants liberals we are concerned about. If you make someone who was otherwise undecided on the issue, pee in THEIR pants, or, much more likely, because of your demeanor, cause them to decide people who carry guns are just assholes–they may BECOME like a liberal on that issue. Congratulations, you’ve just made it MORE likely that *I* will have my rights infringed.

          I’ve got no problem with polite open carry, but to become confrontational and pick fights and arguments on top of it? Big problem. (If someone walks up to you and initiates the argument, that’s another thing–but FGS make sure they are initiating an argument, rather than just curious.)

    • Rob that is the Liberal plan, their version of “Abstinence Only”, indoctrinate the children that “Guns are BAD”, you will be punished for even thinking about a gun, keep them ignorant and hope their curiosity causes lots of accidents so they will have a nice puddle of blood to dance in. The Brady Campaign was upset when most gun manufacturers began including trigger locks for free with their guns, afraid it would cut down accidents and beat them out of talking points.

  4. Every gun show in my area (which is not Texas) bans carrying both concealed and open weapons. Maybe the open carry movement should so something about the hypocrisy in our ranks, first.

    Do you know what would happen if you walked into the NRA Headquarter Range carrying a gun like the guys pictured above? You’d be refused entrance because they don’t allow people to walk around like that. Know what would happen if you, a stranger, walked up to my front door carrying a shotgun…At a bare minimum you’d have a gun pointed at your face and police sirens closing in at top speed. Worst case scenario, you’d get shot dead. You know why? Because in suburban America, normal people don’t walk around carrying rifles and shotguns. Period.

    – Todd Greene. Sept. 19, 2013
    Thanks, Idiots

    • I would argue that not allowing open carry in a gun show or gun shop is good safety policy. A lot of weapons are being handled and examined, and it’s easier to keep everybody safe if every weapon you can see is kept unloaded.
      Banning concealed carry at a place like that is very hypocritical, and also stupid. When I carry concealed, you don’t know anyway.

  5. Only in an era of post-Constitutional government, would those who stand for the Constitution be declared radicals for whom there is no place in one of the 50 supposedly United States.

    When members of Congress, who are sworn to support and defend the Constitution, declare it to be just an old piece of paper they should be expelled from their office.

  6. I don’t get a second glance for OC here in Albuquerque. Cops, Citizens, Restaurants near the university; stores not posted. Nada problem.

  7. For some reason, those who push citizen disarmament seem to be focused more on the size of male sex organs???

    As in “hey big boy, is that a pistol in your pocket,
    or are you just trying to alarm me”

  8. Carrying of loaded weapons is banned at gun shows so that they don’t get confused with the thousands of unloaded weapons also present…

  9. I have a question.
    Is carrying a rifle or shotgun in a non ridged case, considered concealed carry, or open carry? I’m referring to a case that pretty well denotes what’s inside, rather than a rectangular hard case that could contain just about anything.

    • Depends on variables like “Do your neighbors have acute vaginitis?”, “Is the responding officer capable of critical thinking?” and, “Does the local prosecutor want to be the Governor of a blue state?”

    • I think that would be a matter of state law. I am pretty sure in CA it is considered contained, not carried (concealed or openly) regardless of whether it ias soft or a hard case.

    • In Illinois, there is ‘carrying’ and there is ‘transporting’. ‘Transporting’ requires the arm be unloaded and fully enclosed (even if that case were crystal clear and you could see the rifle). ‘Carrying’ means that either an unloaded weapon is easily accessible or a loaded weapon is nearby. It will vary according to state law, so it’s best to check yours.

  10. “calculated” and intent are decided by a jury. The prosecutor has every right to put that question to a jury. I think you go too far in telling people that the prosecutor has no case.

    • I think in almost every jurisdiction the prosecutor also has the right to laugh in the public and cop’s face and decline to prosecute. Why don’t we ask Eric Holder about this, he’s a legal eagle.

      I was “detained” a long time ago in California and my pistol confiscated. After a lengthy “interview” I was released and 30 days later the prosecutor declined to file any charges and my pistol was returned (but they kept the 14 Black Talons it had been loaded with). Prosecutors not blinded by political ambition have a lot of discretion where their budget will be spent.

      • Black Talons!?!?! You mean those evil cop killer bullets?!?!?! I’m surprised they didn’t lock you up for a few years just for having those things.

        Not serious.

      • I was also arrested once, and my pistol held at the station. When I got it back they did not return the ammo. Not sure why, but it seems to be a thing.

  11. We have to be as un-flaggingly in their faces as they are in ours. Don’t backup, don’t back off and never back down.

  12. I know I’m late chiming in – work keeping me busy – and I am aware that some here will notice my distinct lack of capitalization……WB….

    anyhow, as a peace officer, there are a number of things I spotted in this and the associated article(s) that I’ve read. notice I said peace officer and not LEO, because I firmly want to go back to the time that I would be asked to help old ladies across the street and get kittens down out of trees. I am former military, and recognize the important, and distinct, difference between the roles of military and police organizations.

    to answer your question above directly GUNR, that would not be considered concealing in most jurisdictions I know of. the case, hard or soft, is designed to carry the item in question, and further, is usually equipped with a handle, strap, or both to facilitate carrying it without having your hands directly on it. to our more “sensitive” types, that’s usually enough because it becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” issue. there are, of course, some areas in this great land, though, that insist that anybody other than themselves who carries (OC or concealed) is worthy of some form of scrutiny. carrying in a case is something I am more prone to do simply because we have so many ill-informed, or to be extremely charitable, “well-meaning” individuals that would raise a hue and cry in order to either:

    a) draw attention to themselves
    b) attempt to find a target for a suit
    c) find some sort of sense of well-being from causing drama for somebody else
    d) maliciously inflict harm on somebody else’s way of life and body of rights or
    e) any and all of the above

    I think that due primarily to the furtherance of sensational journalism, we have reached the point where anybody exercising their rights openly is interpreted by the vast majority to be attempting to pick a fight. I also believe that most folks forget that most police or policing agencies are run primarily by…..politicians. to quote dave barry, this word is derived from “poly” meaning “many” and “tics” meaning blood sucking creatures. more on this in a moment.

    to recap, I do not believe that ANY sensible person, cop or not, would try to make the claim that carrying a cased arm, long or short, is guilty of “brandishing” or “threatening behavior.” in fact, I would believe that this is a shining example of somebody going out of their way to AVOID confrontation, and should be commended for their forethought. however, that whole paragraph rests squarely on the possibly faulty premise that we are dealing with a sensible person.

    now to a broader point. I realize I will possibly be referred to as an “only one” or “anointed one” or whatever else. and to a broad degree, I truly do understand the mistrust, anger, disillusionment, and frustration by those who use the term. I wear a badge for a living and I do feel the same way about a great many issues. I admit that when traveling, I frequently carry anytime, anywhere, and pretty much dress to avoid both confrontation and standing out while doing so. I am firmly that it’s a “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6″ affair. and when it comes to responsible folks, I think they have the same rights and abilities. in fact our (the POTG as well as all free Americans) most cherished document, together with its amendments outlines this. I state this sentence with this caveat: at no point do I consider myself the arbiter of whom exactly is responsible or worthy.

    to that end, I fault the cop here. the OC guy really has no dog in this fight other than the abuse of his right to carry by the complainant. the complainant, well, choose from the list of choices above, and let’s just leave my official opinion as one of those. but the officer, both by duty description and title, has an obligation to the state and municipality, and to the people in general, to be knowledgeable about this subject, or to at least have the common damn courtesy to recognize if he is in above his head. were I in this position, I can respond that my response to this call would have been as follows:

    1. respond and ascertain the facts vs the alleged complaint. make sure scene is safe and no laws being INTENTIONALLY broken. intent is something usually fairly obvious in a case like this.
    2. if no wrong doing and guy’s not trying to be a pr!ck, walk with him to the store, chatting amiably along the way
    3. return and explain to complainant that no laws were broken, and that carrying is perfectly fine if the complainant would wish the same. further, a slung arm carried muzzle down with hands completely off the fire controls is as safe as could be and showed due caution for surrounding people.
    4. report in writing to refute the possible angry civilian complaint on the way, especially since the original complainant in this case is likely to be ok with manufacturing a crisis with my superiors too.

    doing things in this order smoothes out some wrinkles that may arise later; it shows that the cops are aware of and not alarmed by the action taking place. it shows that we are able to carry on a happy conversation during the complain, and indicates to others that this guy is not a threat. it illustrates to the complainant that some battles are not worth his/her fighting, especially without a full body of knowledge. it finally, it illustrates to the public that I allowed the OWNER TO RETAIN CONTROL OF HIS ARM DURING THE ENCOUNTER. this is not necessary or advised unless there is a real need to ascertain that no immediate threat is present when talking to someone. taking their property under the authority of law could actually raise tension instead of de-escalating a potential situation. this is where I believe so much hostility comes from; the inability of the governmental policing agencies to recognize that not everyone needs to be disarmed during the encounter, and to remember that most, like 99.whatever percent of folks are good, decent, and generally honest people who would do almost anything to help you out if you need it.

    on the other side, while we (the badges) need to remember that last sentence in particular, it would go a long way if we (the POTG) would endeavor to remember that cops are constantly having to be vigilant of the 1% who are not described above. I count myself in both camps because when on duty, I want to be remembered as somebody who was the embodiment of the old style, professional, courteous, and trustworthy. and when off duty, I want to see my brothers and sisters reflected the same way. it’s an active thought train to keep in mind if your job is dealing with upset people who may or may not make angry and rash decisions during your encounter.

    side note: I am far, far more likely to approach and ask the owner of the firearm about the particulars of their weapon because I am, after all, a member of the POTG and love talking with people about guns. not all of us with a badge are bad guys!

    this comment was originally posted in a response to Gunr from Oregon earlier. because I am fat fingered and hit reply to poster instead of a general comment, this may appear twice. I apologize for both that and the length.

  13. I’m so glad someone finally said this. Irrationa, neurotic “fear” does not make something illegal. Crazy wackadoo moonbat neo-soviets can pretend to be afraid of anything they hate. SAme way they try to control people with “being offended.”

    It’s a juvenile game. It’s the same crap your little sister did. She pretends you hit her, and then mom punishes you for something that you never did.

    Act offended to silence free speech of people you disagree with. Act afraid of people you want to strip human right from.

    There’s nothing scary about people walking around with guns. Nothing. Free speech means I’ll talk about God if I feel like it. None of this makes me a bad or evil person. Falsely trying to protray someone in that manner DOES make you evil. Hate-based propagana is at the base of all liberal thinking.

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