June 26, 2016

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.


Chelsea Davis



1,097 Responses to “Texas Man Charged for Open Carrying an AR-15”
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  8. Ronald Lee says:

    Poe is welcome to move his business to Michigan. Michigan welcomes open carry. When the snow isn’t two feet deep I open carry everywhere I go. I have had only one proprietor ask me to leave and that was at my local Vietnam Veteran’s Post in Roseville, MI. and I’m a Vietnam Vet!!

    Michigan State Police Legal Brief No. 86.

    Officers are reminded that the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Carrying a non-concealed firearm is generally legal. Officers may engage in a consensual encounter with a person carrying a non-concealed pistol; however, in order to stop a citizen, officers are required to have reasonable suspicion that crime is afoot. For example, officers may not stop a person on the mere possibility the person may be carrying an unregistered pistol. Officers must possess facts rising to the level of reasonable suspicion to believe the person is carrying an unregistered pistol.
    Officers are also reminded there is no general duty for a citizen to identify himself or herself to a police officer unless the citizen is being stopped for a Michigan Vehicle Code violation.

  9. jshe says:

    Did ANY of you even read this story?????

    The warrant was issued for Poe for the charge of DISORDERLY CONDUCT. NOT for carrying the AR15 through the mall. There is a big difference because carrying the gun was not against the law. The manner in which he did so was.

    The Disorderly Conduct charge is in the Texas Penal Code, Title 9, Section 42.01,(8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.

    IF he slung the AR15 over his shoulder in order to get a reaction out of people, then Disorderly Conduct certainly fits the action. Lets not forget that a 30 round magazine was loaded in the gun too. Lets read again what several of the patrons of the mall had to say: “The aftermath was excruciating. Witnesses expressed that they were “terrified” and “thought they were going to die.” That certainly sounds like he “displayed the weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm. If not then why were the people alarmed. The police were 100% correct in investigating the complaint. The Judge decided to issue a warrant and Poe turned himself in to face the charges. Poe can fight the charge before a jury of his peers. I understand that Poe is pretty young and common sense does not always abound with someone so young but what he did was being STUPID in a NO STUPID ZONE.

    When this whole thing started, I said it’s people like Poe that will get our 2nd Amendment Rights taken away. I was right to an extent already. Prior to this happening, the mall allow people with a CCW permit to carry in their mall. After Poe’s stunt, they can NO LONGER DO SO. Signs have already been erected prohibiting the procession of ANY firearms in the mall.

    Now AGAIN before you forget what the warrant was for so lets all say it together: DISORDERLY CONDUCT!!!!!!!

  10. John says:

    Isn’t this mainly about sound judgement? With mall shootings on the rise and the recognizability of the AR, does it make sense to put yourself in the situation where people may feel threatened, even if that feeling is misplaced? We are all accustomed to police carrying firearms, and they are labeled as such, but when someone walks into a mall with a black gun, and he fits the physical description of the shooters in other mall killings, the first thing people see is the gun and the person carrying it, they are not trained to see the other indicators that the person is exhibiting. The question, I think, is should everyone be trained to know the difference. The answer, Yes. Will it happen, No.

    Avoid these situations while carrying your loaded AR15 in a mall by putting it in a case.

  11. MRC says:

    I agree with most all the others. He used BAD judgement period!
    That piece should have been in a case or box at the least.
    What an idiot….

  12. Mary says:

    People who keep doing this with the intent of causing a situation(and make no mistake, he KNEW he would cause a situation) are doing irreperable damage any attempts at open carry of handguns.

  13. Scott S. says:

    Why give the anti-gun zealots ammunition. I carry concealed and so does my wife. We are strong second amenndment supporters. Having said that I don’t think you will be able to convince me that this fellow did not understand exactly hat he was doing…Instilling fear in those around him. What other purpose would there be for “open carrying” an AR-15 in a mall setting. Hypothetically if he was one of the “crazies” that intended to do harm what better way then carrying the AR the way he did and then picking a spot and then “doing whatever craziness he intended”. I am not suggesting that this man’s motive was to do harm but in the environment we live we need to be aware of the people around us. I own many guns, handguns ans long guns, and if I was in a mall setting and I saw this man strolling through the mall with his AR I don’t care what he had in his hands I would call the police and discretely follow him and be prepared to “stop” any craziness that might follow. Oh yeah…I wouldn’t be following with my weapon drawn. My intuition and training would demand that I take action. An aside…a great book “the gift of fear” is a must read.

  14. ??? says:

    If it was a muzzie carrying a gun I am sure The Cops would have looked the other way.

  15. Barker62 says:

    I’ve seen more than a lot of assumptions about Mr’ Poe’s ‘motivation’. How about finding out exactly what that was? Has ANYBODY DONE SO? Has anybody ASKED him? No? Didn’t think so.
    From our perception, was it dumb..yes, probably. But we don’t know what was going thought his mind at the time. Was he just absent-minded that day? Could be – it happens. Not a good excuse but none of us are perfect either
    Should Mr. Poe have known and complied with the terms of his lease? Yea, verily, but then does anyone who was in the military know/remember EVERY thing from their enlistment papers? I know don’t…and neither do a lot of other GI’s.
    Another point brought out by a poster – certain signs HAVE to meet certain specific standards or they’re invalid, no matter what the intent of the sign poster was. In this case it doesn’t appear there were any signs of any type at the time of the incident. After the fact doesn’t count.
    If, as has been mentioned, he was wearing a shirt advertising business…so what? I do it all the time – of course my ‘advertisement’ indicates that I’m LE but again, so what.???

    Point I’m making is that even now there’s a lack of info related to the actual incident, a whole lot of theorizing and knee-jerk assumptions plus a bunch of useless name calling.
    Sit back, relax and wait for the resolution of the case. DON’t give the ant-2A people extra assistance with petty in-fighting, because whether you realize it of not, that’s just what a large number of you are doing.

  16. James Long says:

    Just like in “Minority Report”! If we think someone might commit a crime, arrest and charge him! Oh Oh, who is “we”?

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