Kory Watkins, the leader of the pro-gun group Open Carry Tarrant County, posted a video on his Facebook page on Wednesday that slammed Texas lawmakers and warned that treason was "punishable by death."
Watkins removed the video a short time later and repeatedly claimed on his Facebook page that he was not threatening anyone, but was as peaceful as Rosa Parks. The video was uploaded to YouTube by a third party, but Watkins filed a copyright claim with YouTube to pull it down.
However, Texas Public Radio uploaded the audio from the video on their website. One lawmaker believes Watkins was issuing a threat.
"I think anybody who sees that video can interpret what it means regardless of what the gentleman said after the fact," Texas state Rep. Poncho Nevarez told Talking Points Memo. "It's a threat."
Nevarez added that he reported Watkins' video to the Texas Department of Public Safety and has installed a panic button in his office to notify the department if his interns and staff are threatened.
Members of Open Carry Tarrant County refused to leave Nevarez's office on Jan. 13 because Nevarez would not support a bill allowing the open carry of handguns in the Lone Star state (video below).
"I'm not gonna let somebody dictate to me how I'm gonna vote on something by threatening my life," added Nevarez. "That's not the way the process should work … It's a mockery of the process that somebody can do this and then the outcome's the way they wanted. They can always look to the fact that they applied this kind of pressure and say that's the result that I got."
Texas state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, who sponsored the open carry handgun bill, recently told Texas Public Radio, "Here’s the deal, anytime these emotional situations pop up they give cover to the people who are already having severe reservations about the bill, that’s what it’s, (the video), doing."
"While this may not be the best way of going about things, it certainly is bringing it to the forefront and causing a greater discussion," added Stickland.