Fresh off its victory over the City of Arlington, gun rights group Open Carry Tarrant County held a celebration rally Thursday night.
Members grabbed their rifles and shotguns and handed out flyers as they marched across part of Arlington. Unlike in the past, though, they didn’t have to worry about being ticketed.
The group's president, Kory Watkins filed suit against the city, saying its new law banning demonstrators from handing out literature at intersections is unconstitutional. State law allows firefighters and police officers to do it.
On Monday, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against the city, meaning Open Carry can pass out its literature.
That temporary restraining order will remain in effect while the case makes its way through the courts.
There was an abundance of caution at Thursday’s rally. Members of Open Carry tried not to impede traffic, and lookouts watched traffic lights.
“One of our big things in court was we’ve never had a ticket for impeding traffic or jaywalking or anything like that, and we don't want to give them ammunition to, you know, cite us a ticket or anything like that,” said Watkins. “So we just want to make sure we’re extra careful.”
The group wants the public to get used to the sight of long guns in public, but its biggest opponent is Moms Demand Action, a group that recently celebrated its own victory when business like Target, Chipotle and Starbucks asked open carry activists not to bring their guns into their stores.
"Regardless of whether they were allowed to hand out literature or not, they have still been marching around with these long guns, and in Texas, there's no training, no background check, no licensing required to carry these long guns around,” said a woman named Carolyn with Moms Demand Action Texas.
Thursday’s rally struck a good note with Darrel Ngyen, who saw Open Carry members and happily snapped a selfie with them in the background. "It's very intriguing,” said Ngyen. “I don't feel like worried or anything.”
Police had cameras set up on portable units pointed at the intersection of the rally.
They said if they got any 911 calls, they could monitor the cameras to determine whether or not there was a threat and could quickly clear calls if the cameras showed no danger.
Police also said the cameras would prevent an officer from having to go to the rally and have a confrontation with Open Carry members.
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