Gun advocates gathered in Temple, Texas, during the weekend in an effort to show their support for Second Amendment rights.
More than 200 men, women and children — most carrying loaded rifles and shotguns — participated in the “Come and Take It” rally. The gathering was organized as a response to Army Master Sgt. CJ Grisham being arrested in March for “rudely displaying” his AR-15.
Grisham was arrested after a woman reported him for carrying the rifle while on a Boy Scout hike with his son. Because it is legal to openly carry long arms in Texas, many saw Grisham’s arrest as unlawful and a violation of his Second Amendment rights, Guns.com reported.
"Really we're just trying to raise public awareness about open carry and that it is legal here in Texas," said Murdoch Pizgatti, the event organizer and co-owner of Don’t Comply.
Grisham’s arrest made it clear that something needed to be done.
"The incident was caused by the police officer thinking he was doing something illegal and it escalated to several levels it didn't need to," Pizgatti said. "There is a public awareness that needs to go on."
He added: “I’ve seen the stop and frisk videos in New York and heard about things like that but this was stop and frisk, it was disarm, handcuffed, it was the arrest and it was right down the road here in Texas. You know that shouldn’t happen here, that is way too close to home. That was my line in the sand and I knew it had been crossed at that moment so I got up and did something.”
Grisham also attended the rally.
“Not only is one man with a rifle or a weapon not any cause for alarm, but hundreds of people with weapons are no cause for alarm," Grisham said. "The reality is — and the message that I think got through quite well to the Temple Police Department — is that an armed society is a polite society and that a person with a gun isn’t someone that you need to fear."
A video about the rally is below: