A Lumberton Texas man, Derek Poe, was walking to his Golden Triangle Tactical gun shop in Parkdale Mall in Beaumont, TX. He was legally open carrying his AR-15 rifle across his back with the barrel facing down. He had done this many times before.
On December 28th, 2013, the Beaumont Police confiscated Poe’s rifle and told him that he would have charges pressed against him for disorderly conduct (see video of incident below)
This incident with Lumberton Resident Derek Poe hits close to home because I am a fellow Lumberton resident and I am running for Hardin County Judge.
If this incident were to have happened a few miles over into Hardin County, the misdemeanor charge would be heard by the Hardin County Judge. I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. If I become elected as the next Hardin County Judge, I, David Bellow, would ensure that laws are being followed properly while at the same time not infringing anyone's second amendment rights.
According to the Beaumont Enterprise, there is an open carry gun rights rally planned for Jan 18th in Beaumont.
Let me make one thing very clear. Open carrying a rifle in a non-threatening manner in Texas is LEGAL. Just the simple fact that someone sees the rifle and gets scared is NOT legal grounds to charge someone with carrying the open rifle in a threatening manner. Open carrying of rifles is legal and cannot be considered disorderly conduct unless the rifle was being carried in a threatening manner. Open carry means people can see the rifle. I do not know of any less threatening of a way to open carry a rifle other than slung behind your back with the barrel down. That is the way Derek Poe was carrying his rifle.
I have written many articles about this issue. Unfortunately, many of the articles involve Texas officials taking away rifles and charging people for doing nothing more than legally open carrying a rifle. You would think that of all places, Texas would be more gun friendly. Open carrying a rifle might not be normal, but it is not illegal. The liberal media has pounded their anti-gun agenda so much that people are frightened by even the sight of a gun. The solution is not to charge the person legally carrying the gun. The solution is to educate American citizens that carrying a gun is legal. We need to educate so that they know gun control measures will only keep guns from law abiding citizens and will not stop mass murderers from going to a mall and shooting people. The only thing that will stop a mass murderer from killing people in a mall is if a law abiding citizen in the mall has a gun and shoots back to stop the mass murderer.
I do not fault anyone for seeing the gun and being scared, and I do not fault the police for questioning Mr. Poe. There was no legal grounds to charge him though and he should have never had his gun confiscated.
The courts and the laws have clearly established that the simple sight of a rifle does not constitute alarm. It is the way the rifle is carried. If the simple sight of a weapon was the basis of not allowing weapons then your neighbor could call the police to take away your guns because she saw you with one though your window and she was alarmed. The fact that someone was alarmed cannot be the legal reason to say someone was using their rifle to alarm or threaten. I admit, I would even be a bit surprised if I saw someone with a rifle on their back in the mall because it is not something you see very often, just because I am surprised does not make what the man is doing illegal though and the laws and Constitution of the County and State must be upheld
I take threats and gun violence seriously, but I also take the 2nd Amendment seriously. Mr. Poe has a Constitutional right to bear arms and there is no evidence that what he did was illegal or threatening. He should have never had his rifle confiscated and should have never been charged.