Pro-Gun Group Wants Open Carry at Texas GOP Convention

| by Michael Allen

The Texas GOP convention will be held in the Fort Worth Convention Center this week and may include guns.

The pro-gun group Open Carry Tarrant County is asking its supporters to bring their long guns or black powder revolvers and stand outside the convention center on Thursday, the first day of the event.

According to the Star-Telegram, Open Carry Tarrant County also wants delegates, alternates and guests to openly carry their guns inside the convention center.

“All delegates, I urge you to open-carry the whole time,” Kory Watkins, of Open Carry Tarrant County, posted on Facebook. “I will be a delegate with my AK-47. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.”

However, local officials say no long guns or open carry handguns will be allowed inside the convention center because of the event's Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) license.

Steve Munisteri, head of the Republican Party of Texas, countered, "We expect to have people there carrying weapons. It’s a Republican crowd and that’s a crowd that’s used to people packing. If the city and the convention center leave it up to us, we will allow open carry and, of course, anyone with a concealed-carry license.”

Pro-gun advocates are calling on state lawmakers to legalize constitutional carry, which would allow people to carry their guns without licenses or regulations.

However, at the Indiana Republican State Convention, people will be allowed to carry guns inside the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on June 6-8.

According to state law, anyone who rents the space can set their own rules about gun possession.

“I don’t see anything that’s unreasonable about having qualified, lawful citizens having their firearms with them,” State Sen. Jim Tomes (R) told Indiana Public Media. “In every state, including Indiana, there are people that go to races, sporting events, social affairs, they have their firearms, they participate, they enjoy themselves, they meet other people, they go home and nobody ever knows the difference.”

“I don’t see why they need guns at a convention,” said State Rep. Vernon Smith (D). “Why would they need guns at a convention?”

Sources: Indiana Public MediaStar-Telegram