|Texas Militia Man on steps of the State Capital|
Despite numerous published reports that insurance carriers have precluded open carry of long guns at Belton's 164th annual Fourth of July parade, Second Amendment activists say they plan to mingle with the crowds – locked and loaded.
For the first time in history, the Belton Chamber of Commerce has banned long guns being carried in the parade, even by Civil War re-enactors and color guard.
Members of Open CarryTemple and Don't Comply.com, activist chapters who advocate openly carrying rifles and shotguns in spite of a general police objection to the practice due to the possibility that the public may become alarmed as a result, plan to appear with their assault rifles and shotguns loaded.
Said Murdoch Pizgatti of Don't Comply, the chief organizer of the June 1st open carry march at Temple in which hundreds of people circled the Temple Police Department carrying their weapons, “We have reached out to the re-enactors and the color guard and offered space for them and their guns. 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.”
Chamber of Commerce officials had at first approved a float with armed members of Open Carry riding in the parade, followed by members under arms marching.
But when they got their annual insurance policy, they learned that the insurance carrier had refused to insure the event if members of the public plan to carry firearms openly. The Belton Chamber of Commerce took back their approval for open carry, even by the color guard and Civil War re-enactors.
Members of the movement that supports open carry have made it their habit to gather in the evenings and stroll through numerous towns in the region since the June 1st event at Temple. They have begun to make daily strolls through Temple, Belton, Dallas, and Little Elm.
The "Come and Take It Temple" event on June 1st was prompted by the March16 arrest of U.S. Army Master Sergeant C.J. Grisham for carrying his loaded AR-15 carbine in a manner intended to cause alarm.
Though there is no law against open carry of long guns, the Penal Code sets forth a penalty under the disorderly conduct statute for doing so in a rude or offensive manner.
Legal defense experts generally interpret this to mean brandishing the weapon or pointing it at another person. Police officials and prosecutors, however, have applied a more liberal interpretation.They see it as an offense if a member of the public contacts them with their concern or fear upon seeing an armed individual walking around in public.
Sgt. Grisham's court case has been continued. At the open carry event on June 1, he told a crowd that courtrooms are not the place to fight for your rights. He said he advocates such activism at the side of the road, in public.