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.