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Open Carry Rally In Houston’s 5th Ward Enrages Residents

Gun rights group wants to highlight “racist” Texas gun laws.

 

Update to this story: After this story aired, News 88.7 confirmed that Open Carry Texas postponed the demonstration in the Fifth Ward scheduled for this weekend.

The Open Carry Texas press release:

“Our goal has always been to hold this demonstration with 5th Ward, not just in 5th Ward,” said OCT President CJ Grisham. “We have an opportunity to correct all the lies, miscommunication, and vitriol associated with this event and express our true intent. I’m more than happy to push this event back to make that happen.”

The full OCT statement

 

 

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Greater Fifth Ward super neighborhood president Kathy Blueford-Daniels says she feels disrespected by Open Carry Texas.

Kathy Blueford-Daniels is a community activist and president of the Fifth Ward super neighborhood. She was part of a group that met with organizers of the open carry event planned for Saturday on the corner of Lockwood Drive and Lyons Avenue.

She said the organizers told them they want to help educate residents on how to take the community back from criminals with the help of guns.

“How can they come here and educate us on something that everybody has in their house anyway?” Blueford-Daniels said. “Even if they don’t have a concealed handgun license, they’re still entitled by law to have one in their homes to protect their property. So what could they possibly be wanting to educate us on — other than to come in here and provoke — provoke – the young people.”

This is not the first such event by Open Carry Texas. The group aims to promote their right to openly carry rifles in public by doing exactly that.

In a blog on its website, the group’s founder, CJ Grisham, said he hopes Fifth Ward residents will march with them. The blog goes on to say that Open Carry Texas wants to change Texas gun laws, which they say are racist because they exclude people with a criminal record from owning guns.

The Pew Research Center finds that African Americans are more than six times as likely to be incarcerated as whites. Open Carry Texas says that means blacks are disproportionately excluded from gun ownership.

The group also says many blacks can’t afford the fees for a concealed carry license.

“When in the hell did Open Carry Texas ever care about black folk being able to afford a firearm?” said Quanell X, a community activist and the leader of Houston’s New Black Panther Party. “You tell Open Carry Texas they can’t urinate on our leg and tell us it’s rain. We know better. You can’t be slick to a can of oil. That’s a con game.”

Ironically, the New Black Panthers, support carrying firearms openly, and Quanell X has warned Open Carry Texas that members of the community will also bring guns to the event on Saturday.

Other members of the community are worried about the potential standoff between the different groups.

Joel Goza is the assistant to the pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. He said he would have preferred if no-one knew about Open Carry Texas’s plans. He had some advice for residents.

“If they’re hot, give them a cup of water, but keep on going. Don’t loiter,” Goza said. “If they engage you in conversation, tell them that Jesus loves them and so do they. But don’t be a part of creating a media frenzy that is what they’re seeking to produce.”

Blueford-Daniels said she doesn’t necessarily disagree with Open Carry Texas’s political agenda, but she feels they are disrespecting the community.

“This is our house, our community,” she said. “We asked them, ‘do not come.’ So if you were obliging by the rules of the owners of the house, then you wouldn’t show up.”  

Open Carry Texas did not respond to emails seeking comment.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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