The Alamo Heights City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to repeal an ordinance that prohibited any person other than an authorized peace officer from carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun in the city.
The repeal brings Alamo Heights in line with Texas state law, which allows rifles to be toted publicly, but not in a manner "calculated to alarm."
Alamo Heights Police Chief Rick Pruitt told the council his department will keep an eye on people who choose to open carry.
“We will investigate all cases of openly displayed rifles and shotguns,” he said. “It starts with first observation. We’re going to observe the behaviors out there. Because it’s not the possession or the display of the weapon. It's the conduct of the individual that may initiate a police action.”
Pruitt added that the Alamo Heights Police Department will respond to all citizens’ calls.
The decision comes after Olmos Park, a neighboring municipality, repealed a similar ordinance after coming into conflict with an organization called Open Carry Texas. Three individuals from that group were arrested during an open carry demonstration in Olmos Park last week.
In attendance was Brandon Burkhart, president of This Is Texas Freedom Force, a nonprofit organization that supports gun rights and the preservation of Texas history.
“We kind of knew that they (Alamo Heights City Council) were going to repeal the ordinance today," he said. "We were just here observing to make sure that there’s not an issue. The Open Carry Texas guys ... are dealing with the legal issues around what happened in Olmos Park. We’re lending our support to them.”
When asked about the police chief’s decision to observe those who open carry, Burkhart said he didn’t have a problem with it.
“For them to show up and sit across the street and observe what’s going on, that’s fine,” he said. “But whenever you come up drawing guns on the people who aren’t breaking the law, you’ve got a problem there.”
Carson Frame can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @carson_frame