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New Online Video May Create Problem For Open Carry Legislation

Ryan E. Poppe

A new online video posted by a gun-rights leader of a North Texas open-carry group may make it more difficult to pass open carry legislation this session.

The head of the group Open Carry Tarrant County is no stranger to the state capitol.  Kory Watkins is the man who posted a video of himself shoving his foot in the door of Eagle Pass Rep. "Poncho" Navarez's office and refusing to leave on the opening day of the legislative session..  That interaction resulted in additional security measures for lawmakers at the capitol. 

Watkins posted another online video this week in which he delivers a somewhat threatening message.

“I want to put more than my foot in that door. We should be demanding these people give us our rights back or it's punishable by death for treason. You understand how serious this is Texas. If you don’t sell me back my rights soon, you’re going to find trouble,” Watkins proclaimed in a self-shot video he posted on his Facebook and YouTube page.

Watkins pulled his video down shortly after complaints came rolling in, but not before Bedford Republican Jonathan Stickland saw the post.  Rep Stickland is the author of a bill that would allow gun owners to openly holster their handguns in public. He says the latest online rant only gives those against the bill more ammunition.

“Here’s the deal, anytime these emotional situations pop up they give cover to the people who are already having severe reservations about the bill, that’s what it’s, (the video), doing,” Stickland said.

Stickland says he’s asked Watkins in the past to stop these types of threats.

Referring back to Watkin's video, Stickland said, "While this may not be the best way of going about things, it certainly is bringing it to the forefront and causing a greater discussion"  

But despite the negative attention, Stickland says his bill still has momentum.

"The bill's already been declared dead twice this session, yet it keeps getting revived because it's what a majority of Texans want," Stickland said.

Lt. Gov Dan Patrick has already fast-tracked two open-carry bills in the Texas Senate.  But By law bills can’t be considered for a vote until the 60th day of the session which is in March.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.