While tear gas and riot police fill the streets of Ferguson, another showdown is brewing in Houston, TX. I’m sure most of you are already familiar with Open Carry Texas, a group on a mission to allow the open carry and display of handguns in Texas. The way that the law there is currently written allows for people to carry a long gun such as a shotgun or rifle in public, but does not allow for the same when it comes to a handgun. If for some reason you wanted to go to the grocery store with an AR-15 strapped over your shoulder, you could do that – but you can’t do the same thing with a 9mm Glock strapped to your hip.
Granted, the law in Texas makes little sense, at least on the surface. 44 states currently allow the open carry of handguns, many with some restrictions according to a pro-open carry website. Texas, South Carolina and Florida are the only the only southern states that prohibit open carry. Predictably, Illinois, California and New York do as well along with their other prohibitions when it comes to firearms.
What’s the big deal with Texas? Well, out of these states, Texas has the funky law that allows you to carry a long gun but not a handgun out for all to see. The law was probably intended to protect hunters or ranchers when it was originally issued but as it is interpreted now, groups like Open Carry Texas (who’ve banned me from their Facebook page, imagine that?) have used it to carry assault rifles into places like Chipotle, Starbucks or Target. Since then, these businesses have asked the gun protesters to take their marches elsewhere, and now it seems that they have – in a black neighborhood in Houston.
Open Carry Texas and community members verbally clashed Wednesday over plans for a demonstration by open carry advocates in Houston’s 5th ward this Saturday.
The meeting was organized to discuss Open Carry’s plans for the upcoming demonstration. In the past, participants have openly displayed their shotguns in protest over current state laws that prohibit Texans from openly carrying handguns. And even though the gathering began with handshakes, emotions rapidly boiled over as opponents questioned the group’s motives and accused them of being racist.
“We have a bad history with white men who would come into the 5th ward with guns in the name of a lynch mob,” said activist Quanell X. (Source)
This is for real. Armed, mostly white protesters will carry guns through a black neighborhood in Houston, against the wishes of the residents, just because they can. Now just imagine if these were armed, black protesters in Ferguson, Missouri protesting the killing of a young member of the community, not the assumed right to openly carry a handgun in public?
Would we see the NRA and the backers of groups like Open Carry Texas come out to loudly announce their support for that? Would we see armed groups like those who showed up to point weapons at law enforcement during the Cliven Bundy standoff now show up in the streets of Ferguson to protect the crowd? Of course not, because these aren’t white conservatives in the streets demanding a change.
Just to summarize, peaceful and unarmed black protesters asking for answers and justice are considered a threat and must be driven off by riot squads with tear gas and rubber bullets. However, white protesters are given permits to march with weapons through a minority neighborhood, and nobody seems to see a problem with this? Seriously?
This is why we shouldn’t take seriously the claims of those like Open Carry Texas and others who tell us that they need guns to protect themselves from a tyrannical government and the freedom to openly display their weapons. If they really believed in that, they would be standing between the unarmed crowds in Ferguson and the heavily armed police, because that is an actual example of tyrannical government played out on a local level. The silence is very telling, and totally not unexpected.
Watch the video from KHOU below.
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