Texas Man Charged for Open Carrying an AR-15
What do you do when you are in an open carry state and you are arrested for open carrying? Derek Poe, age 26, had to face this exact issue at the Beaumont Parkdale Mall in Texas. He was on his way to his store of which he is the owner, Golden Triangle Tactical. During his casual walk through the mall to his store, he had an AR-15 rifle slung across his shoulder, a drink in one hand, and a bag in the other.
The aftermath was excruciating. Witnesses expressed that they were “terrified” and “thought they were going to die.” A warrant for Poe’s arrest was issued, and Derek Poe quickly turned himself in. He was not arrested, but his rifle was confiscated.
“You can open carry a long gun in Texas,” Poe said to authorities. They responded, “It’s against the law by the disorder of conduct law to do what you did.”
An investigation is ongoing prior to the confiscation of Poe’s rifle.
While it is technically legal to open carry a long gun in Texas, the rising reactions of fear that follow the sight of a gun have driven Texas police officers to find ways around this law to punish those who open carry a rifle.
It is legal in Texas to open carry a rifle as long as it is not done threateningly. Handguns can not legally be openly carried, and a concealed carry license is required to have a concealed carry handgun.
As frustrating as it is to me that Derek Poe was arrested for innocently open carrying when he was told it is perfectly legal to do so, the worst part is the reaction of those around him. If you or I saw somebody carrying a rifle around town, with a drink in one hand and a bag in the other, we would probably be more interested in what kind of gun he is carrying than worried for our lives.
This is because we are not afraid of guns. We realize that if we are to fear, we need to fear people instead of inanimate objects. However, this situation is a perfect example of the dramatic fear that is multiplying among our country. Shoppers around Poe did not see his innocent demeanor or his casual body language. They only saw his gun. If anything is going to destroy the Second Amendment, it will be the citizens’ fear for guns, more than the vote of any political leader. Why else would anti-gun political leaders instill so much fear for any firearm in U.S. citizens? If their agenda to disarm us is to succeed, they need to make us afraid of each other.
One person stated that they were afraid for their own life when they saw Poe strolling through the mall with a gun on his shoulder. I feel sorry for that person because they felt fear when there was no need to feel fear. I understand why this individual was afraid as I observe the breeding ground of anti-gun dialogue spilling everywhere, from television shows, to news articles, to social media. Our citizens, like this person who feared for their life, need to be educated on the difference between a criminal and an innocent, ordinary person open carrying.
If anything, I would feel safer knowing that a good man is safely carrying a gun nearby. It should be a comfort, knowing that if a criminal brings danger upon the public, somebody will be there to defend the innocent. If open carrying was completely socially acceptable, why would a criminal ever commit crime in public? If I was up to no good and I saw people open carrying around me, I would keep my head down and not do anything to get their attention. But of course, our country has a long way to go before open carrying becomes regular and casual.
To me, this story went deeper than a man being arrested for open carrying in a state where open carrying is legal. This, to me, is less about the law and more about the people. This is one other story to add to piles of motivation for Second Amendment advocates to spread the word that guns save lives. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. These are all phrases that we all know, support, and repeat to each other. But what are you doing to spread the word far and beyond? If our Second Amendment is to be upheld and saved, it will be saved by we, the people.