For the first time, no loaded guns will be carried in the Belton, Texas Fourth of July parade.
Color Guard members and civil war re-enactors have carried guns in the parade for years, but the insurance provider of the Belton Chamber of Commerce is no longer allowing them to do so.
The insurance company’s decision was prompted by a request from the pro-gun organization Open Carry Texas to march in the parade. The parade’s theme this year is symbols of freedom. The Chamber of Commerce initially approved Open Texas’ application to march in the parade, but the Chamber’s insurance company then rejected the decision due to safety regulation concerns. Instead of only applying the ruling to Open Carry, they extended it to all organization marching in the parade.
Members of Open Carry will still march in the parade, just without their rifles and shotguns accompanying them. But members not marching in the parade have other plans. According to Watchdog Wire, members of Open Carry Texas plan to be present in parade crowds armed with their fully loaded guns.
“We have reached out to the re-enactors and the color guard and offered space for them and their guns,” said Murdoch Pizgatti of Don’t Comply.com. “I don’t think they will bring guns, but we did offer.”
“We will walk with our loaded guns around the area, as well as have some tables set up at the police station.”
There is no Texas law against the open carrying of loaded long guns. There is, however, a penalty in the law for carrying a long gun in a disorderly or inappropriate way. Some interpret the law to mean brandishing or pointing the weapon at another civilian, while others believe the offense applies if a civilian becomes alarmed or concerned by the presence of a loaded long gun in public.