New concerns raised over open carry advocates

ARLINGTON — On a day when a "cop watch" participant was found guilty in municipal court on two traffic tickets, another member of the group and the leader of Open Carry Tarrant County asserted that denying citizens the right to openly carry firearms is unconstitutional.

"Let me remind you: Going against the Constitution is treason, and punishable by death," Kory Watkins said in the video posted to his Facebook page.

Watkins, who is also associated with the Tarrant County Peaceful Streets Project, posted the video Wednesday morning.

It immediately drew an online rebuke from some who interpreted his message as a threat.

The group Moms Demand Action Texas said on its Facebook page: "We need you to call TODAY and let lawmakers know that armed intimidation is not okay for Texans."

Watkins's recorded message was in response to open carry legislation being floated during the legislative session in Austin. Last month, he led a group that stormed the office of State Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D - Eagle Pass).

"We're going to step it up a notch," Watkins said in Wednesday's video.

His statement came on the same day that Jacob Cordova, another supporter of open carry and the Peaceful Streets Project, was in municipal court for four traffic tickets issued during an August "cop watch" event.

Cordova was found guilty on two of the citations, including "unnecessary use of a horn," for interfering with an Arlington police DWI stop in August.

After the hearing, he didn't want to answer any questions surrounding the cop watch patrols.

"I choose not to answer that, brother," he said when directly asked about the organization.

Cordova was cleared of two remaining citations, including a speeding citation, which the judge said couldn't be proved.

Watkins eventually removed his video on Wednesday, and posted a follow-up message, saying he was in no way advocating violence:

"Let me make it clear and unequivocal: I was not talking about hurting legislators, or anyone else. I am an advocate of peaceful non-cooperation. When I speak of 'stepping it up a notch,' mean within the boundaries of 'peaceful non-cooperation.'"


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