Protesters Rally at Alamo Over Gun Restrictions
than a thousand people, many sporting rifles and other long guns, turned out at
on Saturday for a protest over local, state and federal gun restrictions,
according to organizers' estimates.
focused mainly on a Texas law that prohibits
the open carry of handguns, though it also referenced gun laws across the
nation. The event was organized by Open Carry Texas, Come and Take it America
and Carry Texas, according to C.J. Grisham, a spokesman for Open Carry Texas.
Current Texas law allows owners of long guns and
several other types of guns to openly carry, while handgun owners must conceal
that while most attendees were from Texas, the rally also drew participants from
as far away as Florida.
politicians and political candidates spoke at the event including Texas Land
Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a candidate for lieutenant governor; Matt McCall,
a Republican candidate for Congress; and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate
focused on safety in his remarks, saying that allowing all licensed gun holders
to openly carry their weapons creates a safer environment.
“The folks who
seek the permit are the folks by petition that are law abiding,” Patterson said.
mass shootings and other gun-related crimes tend to occur in areas where guns
“They go to
where they know the guns are prohibited,” Patterson said.
He urged members
of the crowd to not direct any anger over current gun laws toward law
“Any anger you
have, focus it at the lawmakers,” Patterson said. “Those are where the
violations of our liberty come from. It’s not the cop on the street.”
Grisham said the
event was spurred on after San Antonio police gave three members of Open Carry Texas disorderly conduct
citations roughly a month ago while displaying rifles in open sight at a
Starbucks. Grisham and Roger Zuniga, a spokesman for the San Antonio Police
Department, said those citations are currently pending trial.
Zuniga said the San Antonio Police Department didn’t use any
additional officers for security around the event, though it did shuffle around
officers in the downtown area. He said no incidents occurred surrounding the
that federal restrictions on gun owner licensing are overly restrictive.
“It says if you
are a veteran with any PTS in your file, it is a crime to own a firearm,” McCall
said, referring to post-traumatic stress disorder. “It is the same with women
who have been raped with PTS.”
on the federal government shutdown in her speech, saying a state focus is needed
to address issues across the board including gun restriction.
is broken,” Glass said. “The two-party system is broken. We have got to chart a
new course away from government.”
speeches lasted for several hours. At around 1 p.m., event organizers encouraged
attendees to venture into the downtown area with their weapons displayed or
march to a town hall event at a nearby park.
Murdoch Pizgatti, founder of
Come and Take it America, said he thought the event was a tremendous success, as
it served as an example of people peacefully gathering together and openly
carrying their weapons.
“This was a
public education showing that this can be done without incident, so in two
years, when the Legislature is in open session, this event will be talked about
when those bills are on the floor,” Pizgatti said.
He said the
groups hope to spur on the legalization of open carry for all guns in the next
legislative session. An event similar to Saturday's rally is being planned for Austin in the near future, he said.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at