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Thread: Open Carry Picnics in Houston and Other Texas Cities

  1. #1
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    It occurred to me last night that while we can't openly carry our hand guns in Texas, our right to carry rifles and other long guns hasn't been abridged. While not a really practicable solution for personal security, one of the goals of the picnics and other public events is to educate the public about open carry and show them and police that law abiding citizens can peaceably congregate while armed.

    I'd couple the event with carrying empty handgun holsters to bring the point to bear -- we already can walk around guns.

    Any down side or other thoughts about the idea? Also, any TX lawyers in the group who might want to help plan such an event and help us mind our P's and Q's?

    So, if doable, any one in Houston or surrounding areas up for a picnic or have suggestions for the location? I'm between starting boldly with Discovery Green downtown and a smaller venue and working our way up to the great downtown outdoors.


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    I think it's a great idea. It's high time Texans got in on the OC events that folks in other states have put together. And it makes several statements. 1. OC of handgunsis coming to Texas. 2. Law abiding citizens are not dangerous to society. 3. Evil guns do not fire themselves, even if you can see them. 4. Handguns are not as visually distressing as long guns to the uneducated and antigunners. (Is that too pushy and arrogant?) Ha ha. I'm sure there's many better statements than these. I'm in theDFW area so I may or may not be able to attend. But I hope your idea gains support and momentum. Maybe supporters in other cities will follow your lead. What's everybody say? Can we get behind this idea? Think of the press this could bring to the OC cause, both here in Texas and across the nation. A good opportunity. I would certainly join in such an effort in the DFW area.

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    cccook wrote:
    I think it's a great idea. It's high time Texans got in on the OC events that folks in other states have put together. And it makes several statements. 1. OC of handgunsis coming to Texas. 2. Law abiding citizens are not dangerous to society. 3. Evil guns do not fire themselves, even if you can see them. 4. Handguns are not as visually distressing as long guns to the uneducated and antigunners. (Is that too pushy and arrogant?) Ha ha. I'm sure there's many better statements than these. I'm in theDFW area so I may or may not be able to attend. But I hope your idea gains support and momentum. Maybe supporters in other cities will follow your lead. What's everybody say? Can we get behind this idea? Think of the press this could bring to the OC cause, both here in Texas and across the nation. A good opportunity. I would certainly join in such an effort in the DFW area.
    All really great statements. I especially like number 1. Here's a candidate for the billboard based on it: "Coming soon to a society near you. Law-abiding citizens exercising their rights and taking responsibility for themselves."

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    akpoff wrote:
    It occurred to me last night that while we can't openly carry our hand guns in Texas, our right to carry rifles and other long guns hasn't been abridged. While not a really practicable solution for personal security, one of the goals of the picnics and other public events is to educate the public about open carry and show them and police that law abiding citizens can peaceably congregate while armed.
    I agree that some sort of open carry event is long overdue, but I urge caution. Walking around with a rifle slung over your back could easily be construed as disorderly conduct (display of a weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm). Forget Florida v. J.L., Terry, etc; there's ample RAS for any Texas LEO to detain you (you'd probably be nowhere near anywhere you could legally hunt), and if that cop thinks he can stand up in court and say that you were carrying your rifle in a manner that a reasonable man should know would probably scare the average person, you're probably not going to beat that rap.

    This is also the kind of thing that might swing public and legislative opinion in the opposite direction. Remember the Black Panthers in California; they went on parade carrying long guns, as was totally legal, and the State responded by banning open carry of long guns.

    If you want to pursue this, I would find a police chief who knows the law and knows that slinging a rifle over your shoulder is not DC, and get that fact in writing before doing something like this. If the police chiefgave youa signed statementthat whatyouplanned on doingwasperfectly legal, it would make thecity look a lot sillier if they tried to prosecute.

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    A DC charge would be very hard to prosecute when looking at Tx v. Johnson.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._johnson

    In order to facilitate a DC charge, people would have to riot or stampede in a crowd.

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    Liko81 wrote:
    akpoff wrote:
    It occurred to me last night that while we can't openly carry our hand guns in Texas, our right to carry rifles and other long guns hasn't been abridged. While not a really practicable solution for personal security, one of the goals of the picnics and other public events is to educate the public about open carry and show them and police that law abiding citizens can peaceably congregate while armed.
    I agree that some sort of open carry event is long overdue, but I urge caution. Walking around with a rifle slung over your back could easily be construed as disorderly conduct (display of a weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm). Forget Florida v. J.L., Terry, etc; there's ample RAS for any Texas LEO to detain you (you'd probably be nowhere near anywhere you could legally hunt), and if that cop thinks he can stand up in court and say that you were carrying your rifle in a manner that a reasonable man should know would probably scare the average person, you're probably not going to beat that rap.

    This is also the kind of thing that might swing public and legislative opinion in the opposite direction. Remember the Black Panthers in California; they went on parade carrying long guns, as was totally legal, and the State responded by banning open carry of long guns.

    If you want to pursue this, I would find a police chief who knows the law and knows that slinging a rifle over your shoulder is not DC, and get that fact in writing before doing something like this. If the police chiefgave youa signed statementthat whatyouplanned on doingwasperfectly legal, it would make thecity look a lot sillier if they tried to prosecute.
    Good point, Liko81, about the disorderly conduct. I've also considered the possibility that an OC event with rifles might backfire. I think if we proceed it should be with thoughtfulness. I had thought to check with local parks first and clear the way as far as reserving space and letting them know what's going on.

    Chief of Police might work but I've also heard this is the same Chief who won't sign-off on class 3 weapons licenses. Perhaps running it by the city attorney might be a better idea. Actually, after November when Pat Lykos is in office (so we hope), getting a signed opinion from the Harris County DA might work as well.

    You're definitely right to urge caution and preparation. A good outting could really help the OC cause, a bad one could definitely hurt or kill our chances of decriminalizing handgun OC, and as you note, possibly end in a law against long-gun OC.

    Cheers!


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    I just spoke with an attorney. He suggests getting a letter from the City Attorney or DA. The Chief of Police, he thinks, is likely to say "not my job" and couldn't prevent a prosecution even if he wanted to.

    He did remind me that on private property the owner can grant just about anyone permission to OC (felons excluded) handguns. On private property unless the event gets horribly out of control the police will have no reason or authority to bother us.

    I'm going to check around to see whether I can find a restaurant that will let us hold an OC event. I think 20 or so folks eating BarBQ while OCing handguns would get a news crew out and would help achieve the goal of helping people see armed, law-abiding citizens are nothing to fear.

    We could even bring a laptop and help other patrons sign the petition online.

    Anyone know any sympathetic restaurateurs in Houston or surrounding areas?

    Edit: Spelling mistake.

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    He did remind me that on private property the owner can grant just about anyone permission to OC (felons excluded) handguns. On private property unless the event gets horribly out of control the police will have no reason or authority to bother us. I'm going to check around to see whether I can find a restaurant that will let us hold an OC event. I think 20 or so folks eating BarBQ while OCing handguns would get a news crew out and would help achieve the goal of helping people see armed, law-abiding citizens are nothing to fear. We could even bring a laptop and help other patrons sign the petition online.
    AK-- In that great Texas tradition, I think a 'come-one, come-all' barbeque cook-off [maybe even a Wild-Game Cook-Off!] may just be the ticket to bring folks out and get 'em signed up. As long as alcohol is not permitted, you should be able to get great food, great fun, and a great turnout!!

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    tashkerra wrote:
    He did remind me that on private property the owner can grant just about anyone permission to OC (felons excluded) handguns. On private property unless the event gets horribly out of control the police will have no reason or authority to bother us. I'm going to check around to see whether I can find a restaurant that will let us hold an OC event. I think 20 or so folks eating BarBQ while OCing handguns would get a news crew out and would help achieve the goal of helping people see armed, law-abiding citizens are nothing to fear. We could even bring a laptop and help other patrons sign the petition online.
    AK-- In that great Texas tradition, I think a 'come-one, come-all' barbeque cook-off [maybe even a Wild-Game Cook-Off!] may just be the ticket to bring folks out and get 'em signed up. As long as alcohol is not permitted, you should be able to get great food, great fun, and a great turnout!!
    I like the Wild-Game Cook Off!

    OK, so it's somewhat settled in that it should be an OC event on private property that's open to the public. It should be:
    • indoor or outdoor,
    • have OC-friendly ownership/management,
    • in Houston or close enough that local news stations will cover it,
    As for the actual event:
    • meat on a grill (any OC vegetarians out there? We'll need ideas for substitutes. I think the Boca Burgers taste pretty good.),
    • on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon (we want our OC church friends there),
    • as much as it pains me, exclude alcohol (we'll leave that for another day) so we'll need lots of water, lemonade and soda,
    • perhaps music (Does Lyle Lovett support OC? I sure could go for some Texas swing),
    • flyers and a banner or two,
    • And a lot of armed, law-abiding citizens and their families.
    It sounds like I'm planning a huge event but really I'd be happy if 20 or 30 of us showed up.

    Can I get a show of hands of Houstonians and other OC-supporting Texans (or other Americans and legally resident visitors) who'd be willing to come. I'm thinking some time in the next four weeks.

    Also, as I wrote earlier, I'm going to start looking for venues. I know a couple of business owners I can talk to who have decent-sized outdoor areas on their land. I'll hit them up first. Does anyone have any friends we can talk to, or better yet, land they're willing to let us use?

    Cheers!


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    akpoff wrote:
    It sounds like I'm planning a huge event but really I'd be happy if 20 or 30 of us showed up.
    It can take on a life of its own. There is such a thirst to exersize 2A perogatives that people will make a special effort to participate. Even if they have a distance to travel.

    Here in California an event was planned for a restaurant meet and greet in San Diego which drew 40, most of whom were armed with exposed handguns and ammo.

    For Texans, I would expect a far more enthusiastic attendance with sufficient advance notice. (Not just because Texans are ardent supporters of the 2A, but they no doubt wont want to be outdone by a bunch ofleft coast hippie surfers.)
    New to OPEN CARRY in California? Click and read this first...

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    ConditionThree wrote:
    akpoff wrote:
    It sounds like I'm planning a huge event but really I'd be happy if 20 or 30 of us showed up.
    It can take on a life of its own. There is such a thirst to exersize 2A perogatives that people will make a special effort to participate. Even if they have a distance to travel.

    Here in California an event was planned for a restaurant meet and greet in San Diego which drew 40, most of whom were armed with exposed handguns and ammo.

    For Texans, I would expect a far more enthusiastic attendance with sufficient advance notice. (Not just because Texans are ardent supporters of the 2A, but they no doubt wont want to be outdone by a bunch ofleft coast hippie surfers.)
    I'll have to add that to the requirements: 41+ attendees. ;-)

    Thanks for the encouragement!


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    I like the Wild-Game Cook Off! OK, so it's somewhat settled in that it should be an OC event on private property that's open to the public. It should be: * indoor or outdoor, * have OC-friendly ownership/management, * in Houston or close enough that local news stations will cover it, As for the actual event: * meat on a grill (any OC vegetarians out there? We'll need ideas for substitutes. I think the Boca Burgers taste pretty good.), * on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon (we want our OC church friends there), * as much as it pains me, exclude alcohol (we'll leave that for another day) so we'll need lots of water, lemonade and soda, * perhaps music (Does Lyle Lovett support OC? I sure could go for some Texas swing), * flyers and a banner or two, * And a lot of armed, law-abiding citizens and their families.
    AK-- In the early '90's, the Harris Co. Sheriff's Dept. and the [then] Sheriff Johnny Klevenhagen, were the class of the Wild Game Cookers. It was a family affair-- and, as one would suspect, a spectacle of open carry by LEOs. Here are some thoughts:
    1. Outdoor events are the easiest to set up, especially when you talk private property. It also facilitates easier set-up by the cookers and their entourages.
    2. Cook-offs offer free food-- like lures to a bass, people will come out of the woodwork to sample the wares. They will be more than happy to contribute a donation to the PAC to 'get at' some of that food.
    3. Texas country bands will beat your door down to play a cook-off gig because they know it gets them name recognition and a ready audience.
    4. Kids love the food, the fun, and the entertainment that are the signatures of Texas cook-off contests. The press loves them too.
    5. The NRA, local sporting goods merchants (can you say Gander Mountain?), law enforcement and emergency departments, and the Boy Scouts can be depended on for booths, volunteerism, team sponsorships, and ambulance standby. Don't forget the skeet and trap shooters-- they may be high-dollar, but they support carry legislation too.
    6. Free admission for uniformed LEOs and a Buddy system (LEO + OC) for CHLs and officers who want to provide on-site security. A sign up sheet made available at the OC tent to assign the teams. A great way to network and.." get the law on your side."
    7. Invite sympathetic legislators and representatives of the Ron Paul camp-- a rabid bunch for Consititutional rights and freedom.
    8. If it's fall-- it's Texas Gun Show time. Gun shows in the Houston area have already begun, and more are planned from Sept 27 thru Oct 26. Good advertising and word-of-mouth.
    9. Finally, many Houston area landowners (Damon, TX comes to mind) would love to have a big fall cook-off come to town.
    Hope this helps...

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    akpoff wrote:
    I just spoke with an attorney. ...
    He did remind me that on private property the owner can grant just about anyone permission to OC (felons excluded) handguns.
    I suggest seeking counsel of a different attorney, because this one doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

    There is no "with permission" exception to PC 46.02.



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    KBCraig wrote:
    akpoff wrote:
    I just spoke with an attorney. ...
    He did remind me that on private property the owner can grant just about anyone permission to OC (felons excluded) handguns.
    I suggest seeking counsel of a different attorney, because this one doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

    There is no "with permission" exception to PC 46.02.
    Certainly something to check on. I've placed a call to verify whether property-owners can grant permission to anyone. Chapter 46, section 15 does list a lot of exclusions to 46.02, though as you note, none for "permission of property owner".

    What's interesting is I also see no exception for employees who aren't security guards yet I see gunshop employees OCing in every gunshop I enter. While there are exceptions to 46.02 specifically for security guards, none of the openly-armed guys I've seen selling guns behind the counter meet the requirements set forth. Section b of 46.15, chapter 46 discusses security guards and requires they meet subdivision 5. Following are the relevant parts:

    Code:
    (2)  is on the person's own premises or premises under 
    the person's control unless the person is an employee or agent of 
    the owner of the premises and the person's primary responsibility 
    is to act in the capacity of a security guard to protect persons or 
    property, in which event the person must comply with Subdivision 
    (5);
    
    <snip>
    
    (5) holds a security officer commission issued by the Texas Private Security Board, if:
     (A) the person is engaged in the performance of the person's duties as a security officer or traveling to and from the person's place of assignment;
     (B) the person is wearing a distinctive uniform; and
     (C) the weapon is in plain view;
    None of the gunshop employees I've seen meet (b) "wearing a distinctive uniform" and as far as I know don't hold security-officer commissions. In fact, every employee I've ever bothered to ask has said they OC because they have permission from the owner to OC.

    Any thoughts as to how those employees are violating 46.02 and yet aren't fulfilling b.5 of 46.15 Non-Applicability?

    Cheers!


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    akpoff wrote:
    What's interesting is I also see no exception for employees who aren't security guards yet I see gunshop employees OCing in every gunshop I enter. ...
    Any thoughts as to how those employees are violating 46.02 and yet aren't fulfilling b.5 of 46.15 Non-Applicability?"

    Yes, it's technically a violation. It's also one of those things that makes people, including LEOs, scratch their heads when you point it out, because "everyone knows it's okay".

    I'm unaware of any prosecution over it. Some people try to use the "owns or controls" exception, but that's a serious stretch. Someone working behind a counter, especially when there are several of them, can't really claim to "control" that property.



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    KBCraig wrote:
    akpoff wrote:
    What's interesting is I also see no exception for employees who aren't security guards yet I see gunshop employees OCing in every gunshop I enter. ...
    Any thoughts as to how those employees are violating 46.02 and yet aren't fulfilling b.5 of 46.15 Non-Applicability?"

    Yes, it's technically a violation. It's also one of those things that makes people, including LEOs, scratch their heads when you point it out, because "everyone knows it's okay".

    I'm unaware of any prosecution over it. Some people try to use the "owns or controls" exception, but that's a serious stretch. Someone working behind a counter, especially when there are several of them, can't really claim to "control" that property.
    I spoke with a different attorney who works in the same office. He's been involved in 2a rights advocacy for 30 years. He agrees that Chapter 46 and specifically 46.02 don't mention "property-owner permission" but believes it's one of those areas that falls under common-law tradition and/or common sense. Property-owner rights run deep in English and American Common Law. There are whole categories of "understood" rights that fall under that rubric and you'll not find any specific exceptions in the Penal Code because "everyone knows it's okay".

    I'm going over to the law library in the next few days and look for cases that specifically acknowledge property-owners rights to grant permission to visitors to possess guns on their premises.

    Do I even need to complain about chapter 46 of the penal code? It's a mish-mash of laws, exclusions and affirmative defenses. It's a minefield and should be scrapped and replaced with something shorter:

    Carry whatever you want. It's a criminal offense, though, to threaten, harass or otherwise intimidate another with any weapon or item that could be used as a weapon. This is Texas. Violate the provisions of this chapter at your own risk. If you live through it you're going to jail.
    Sure will be nice when we get OC decriminalized in TX and the remaining states!

    Cheers!


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    KBCraig wrote:
    akpoff wrote:
    What's interesting is I also see no exception for employees who aren't security guards yet I see gunshop employees OCing in every gunshop I enter. ...
    Any thoughts as to how those employees are violating 46.02 and yet aren't fulfilling b.5 of 46.15 Non-Applicability?"

    Yes, it's technically a violation. It's also one of those things that makes people, including LEOs, scratch their heads when you point it out, because "everyone knows it's okay".

    I'm unaware of any prosecution over it. Some people try to use the "owns or controls" exception, but that's a serious stretch. Someone working behind a counter, especially when there are several of them, can't really claim to "control" that property.

    Well actually, yes they can. The employees of a store, especially a gun shop, are authorized by the owner as employees to maintain security and safety of all occupantsof the store, and to dispose of merchandise owned by the store according to the owner's wishes (i.e. selling it). That is control of the store, and thus, with the permission of the owner, they can carry. There doesn't have to be any one guy with that responsibility under law; they all have control of the store.

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    akpoff wrote:
    I spoke with a different attorney who works in the same office. He's been involved in 2a rights advocacy for 30 years. He agrees that Chapter 46 and specifically 46.02 don't mention "property-owner permission" but believes it's one of those areas that falls under common-law tradition and/or common sense. Property-owner rights run deep in English and American Common Law. There are whole categories of "understood" rights that fall under that rubric and you'll not find any specific exceptions in the Penal Code because "everyone knows it's okay".
    The problem is that common law is only at play where statutory law is silent. Texas statutes are not silent; they clearly outlaw having a handgun on or about your person unless you meet one or more of the maze of exceptions.

    Not even all of the exceptions are clear; look what we went through with "traveling", and the insufficient amendment to that exception, which then took yet another legislative session to fix.

    I'm going over to the law library in the next few days and look for cases that specifically acknowledge property-owners rights to grant permission to visitors to possess guns on their premises.
    I hope you find them; I'd love to be wrong.


    Do I even need to complain about chapter 46 of the penal code? It's a mish-mash of laws, exclusions and affirmative defenses. It's a minefield and should be scrapped and replaced with something shorter: "Carry whatever you want. It's a criminal offense, though, to threaten, harass or otherwise intimidate another with any weapon or item that could be used as a weapon. This is Texas. Violate the provisions of this chapter at your own risk. If you live through it you're going to jail."

    Sure will be nice when we get OC decriminalized in TX and the remaining states!
    I've long advocated repealing Chapter 46. Every word of it.

    Well, okay, there are those who assume everything is illegal unless it's legal, so I would concede to your version. I think amending the Constitution of 1876 would be even better, to make it clear that the Legislature would no longer "have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime."

    Maybe just replace Article 1, Section 23, with the Atlanta Declaration by L. Neil Smith.


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    I think long guns scare folks more than handguns do. Can you imagine the imagry of AR15s, AKs, SKSs being slung over shoulders? I'm not sure this is what we want out there.

    While DocNTX will probably thow (electronic) eggs at me for bringing this up again, I'd like to see a pre-1899 open carry event. Pre-1899 firearms aren't "firearms" for the purposes for section 46 of the Penal Code where most of the restrictions (excepting disorderly conduct, most notably) reside (see Penal Code section 46.01 for the definition).

    With them being so classified under both federal and state law, any charges including disorderly conduct seem very unlikely to be successful.

    I have a S&W safety hammerless in .38 S&Wcirca 1895 that is dying to be seen. :celebrate



    Thoughts?

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    I carried a repro 1858 Remington blackpowder revolver in a traditional cavalry holster to the July VCDL picnic. (Yes, it was loaded.)

    You must have some people out that way who have muzzleloading pistols to carry! For that matter, if muzzleloaders aren't firearms under TX law, there's no reason you can't have "Muzzleloader OC Dinners".

    :celebrate:celebrate:celebrate

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    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    I carried a repro 1858 Remington blackpowder revolver in a traditional cavalry holster to the July VCDL picnic. (Yes, it was loaded.)

    You must have some people out that way who have muzzleloading pistols to carry! For that matter, if muzzleloaders aren't firearms under TX law, there's no reason you can't have "Muzzleloader OC Dinners".

    :celebrate:celebrate:celebrate
    Nice. I don't think we should limit ourselves to modern or vintage arms. Wear each kind, one on each leg. :P

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    If this turns out as a long gun OC event in public like a park pick nick I think the perfect 2 areas for that in Houston.
    Herman Park is near the museum and Zoo. Med Center right down the street. HPD can then take a few hours break in that little part of town.
    Another great place would be Memorial Park. For this local you can organize a few hundred people and take control of dozens of tables near the parkway. Watch the joggers spot as they run by.
    socialnewswatchDOTcom instead of Drudge

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    txgho1911 wrote:
    If this turns out as a long gun OC event in public like a park pick nick I think the perfect 2 areas for that in Houston.
    Herman Park is near the museum and Zoo. Med Center right down the street. HPD can then take a few hours break in that little part of town.
    Another great place would be Memorial Park. For this local you can organize a few hundred people and take control of dozens of tables near the parkway. Watch the joggers spot as they run by.
    I had also thought about Discovery Green. Memorial would be a great, mostly central place. The south side has a bunch of places for grilling and volleyball nets, though I can't imagine playing volleyball with a AR-15 slung across the back would be much fun.

  24. #24
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    Whats the word on the possible OC event. I live in San Antonio and would be willing to make the drive to support the event. I have a 4 and 6 year old who I am already training to respect firearms. They like to go shooting with me (I let them shoot a .22 rifle wich I hold). The 6 year old has an uncanny knowledge of my XD .45. I think the general public is just ignorant on guns and some education is in order. I really hope I didnt miss the event. Please let me know





    Proud member of: VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, KofC, NRA and North American Hunting Club.

    WE MUST FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS!!!


  25. #25
    Regular Member
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    Aug 2008
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    Post imported post

    One thing Iv thought about is to walk around with a banana in my holster, I bet that would raise some eye brows and get people to ask whats going on and its perfectly harmless. Seems like a good non "In your face" way to protest your right to open carry and people will be not as frightened to talk to you about it.



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