A gun control group got quite a surprise on Saturday when a group of armed protesters showed up at their meeting.
Four members of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense (MDA) were holding a meeting at the Blue Mesa Grill in Arlington, TX, when around 40 members of The Open Carry Texas contingent gathered in the parking lot outside of the restaurant.
Chris Barton, the CFO of Blue Mesa Grill, said that the manager called 911 at 11:35 a.m., shortly after the armed group arrived:
“When the manager called, he told them (police dispatcher) what was going on,” Barton said. “They said that if they are having a peaceful demonstration, they are within their legal rights.”
The Open Carry Texas contingent protesters included men, women, and children. They were armed with about two dozen semi-automatic rifles, which are classified as long guns in Texas and can be legally carried openly.
One of the four MDA members who attended the meeting tried to file a police complaint on Monday. She was told that no law had been violated.
Police monitored the incident, but took no action, as Tiara Ellis Richard of the Arlington Police office of communication said in an e-mail to USA TODAY:
“We are aware that a group did gather in a shopping area in Arlington Saturday. Officers were notified and arrived at the location. There were no issues that we are aware of and no arrests occurred.”
Kory Watkins organized the protest. He told National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke that “we were just out there peacefully assembling.”
“We walked down the street, away from where they were, and took a couple of pictures,” he said. “People were pulling over and honking and all that good stuff. When we were in the parking lot, one of them called us an (expletive) but that was it.”
However, the police did arrive as the group of protesters was leaving to go to another restaurant in the area. An officer approached the group, and here’s what happened:
Open Carry Texas explains their mission on their website:
Open Carry Texas is an organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms openly in the State of Texas in accordance with the United States and Texas Constitutions and applicable laws. Our purpose is to 1) educate all Texans about their right to openly carry rifles and shotguns in a safe manner; 2) to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them; 3) encourage our elected officials to pass less restrictive open carry legislation; and (4) foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters.
The mission of Moms Demand Action is posted on their website as well:
Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but we believe common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills an American child every 3 hours and 15 minutes. Whether the gun violence happens in urban Chicago, suburban Virginia, or rural Texas, we must act now on new and stronger gun laws and policies to protect our children.
The battle between the two groups didn’t end at the Blue Mesa Grill. Both have been vocal on social media since the event.
On the Moms Demand Action Facebook page:
“WHAT ARE THESE MEN DOING? No, they’re not military defending our country or police responding to a mass shooting. They’re members of Open Carry Texas and they showed up earlier today to protest a membership meeting being held by four members of Moms Demand Action inside a restaurant in Dallas. These men, armed with semi-automatic rifles, terrified customers and passersby.”
On the Open Carry Texas Facebook page:
“Hey Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, here’s your chance to get your ideas out in public. The president of Open Carry Texas, CJ Grisham, is issuing an open invite and challenge to MDA President Shannon Watts to debate the issue of ‘gun sense’ (gun control) versus gun rights (supporting the Constitution). Since we are issuing the challenge, Shannon may pick anywhere in the State of Texas to hold the event and OCT will pay for the venue.
“We will also accept the Texas Chapter President of MDA if Shannon doesn’t feel intelligent or confident enough to handle an open debate. OCT will NOT be open carry at the event so MDA can feel safe and secure in its ignorance and false sense of safety. Shannon may email her response CJ directly from her official email to email@example.com. The ball is in your court.”
Open Carry Texas posted this photo on their Facebook page:
On November 1, the following statement was posted on the Moms Demand Action website:
The mothers of America call on this Congress to, finally, respond to this shooting tragedy as impetus to act on gun reform. Our nation needs new and stronger gun laws, such as background checks, and increased gun regulation, including a ban on assault weapons for civilians, to protect our families and loved ones from gun violence.
One can’t help but wonder why the members of this “grassroots movement” believe more gun control will prevent tragedies like the ones at LAX and Sandy Hook. The group’s articles and Facebook posts attempt to appeal to emotion by sharing stories of gun-related deaths and mass shootings. Why are there no stories about incidents during which lives have been saved by responsible armed citizens, like this one, and this one? What about the 200,000 women who use guns to protect themselves against sexual assault every year?
Moms Demand Action’s website also says:
We are facing a public health crisis: Nearly eight American children are shot and killed every day. Anything else responsible for this many deaths would be immediately investigated and regulated. Not a single federal law has been passed in decades to prevent gun violence – not after Columbine and not after Newtown.
The Department of Justice has said that firearm homicides are down by 38% and that non-fatal firearm incidents are down 69%.
A study that was recently published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy revealed that nations that have more guns tend to have less crime:
The findings of two criminologists – Prof. Don Kates and Prof. Gary Mauser – in their exhaustive study of American and European gun laws and violence rates, are telling:
Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. The study found that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population).
The mission of Moms Demand Action certainly is honorable; who doesn’t want to see an end to these tragedies? But, perhaps the group should consider that more laws aren’t the answer. Do they know that some school districts – including some in Colorado, Oregon, and Arkansas – have decided to take action to prevent or stop shootings by arming staff? The administration at those schools took responsibility for the protection of students into their own hands – and not by simply posting more “gun-free zone” signs, which do nothing but let criminals identify easy targets.
“Thus the classic slogan — when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns — isn’t only a word play; it is a fundamental insight into the folly of gun prohibition. Such an approach means the bad guys are well-armed while law-abiding citizens are not.” – Jeffrey Miron
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