Arlington police block gun-toting protesters from City Council meeting

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on April 8, 2014 at 11:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 8 at 11:20 PM

ARLINGTON — A founder of Open Carry Tarrant County walked into Arlington City Hall Tuesday night with a six-shooter holstered to his hip.

Police said they have never allowed firearms at Council meetings.

Kory Watkins countered that Texas law doesn't recognize his 1851 black powder revolver as a firearm... just an antique.

"Very deadly," Watkins said, but legally not a firearm.

But when an officer asked Watkins to leave it outside, he did. So did at least two others.

Advocates for open carry firearms had come to the City Council meeting to skirmish over the First Amendment, not the Second Amendment.

Arlington police ticketed some members of the group recently for handing out literature on busy streets. Police said the issue was safety, not free speech.

Demonstrators were attempting to distribute copies of the U.S. Constitution and Open Carry Tarrant County cards. About 25 members came to City Council to complain.

Members listened, but took no action. It was not an agenda item.

Kory Watkins said the group's armed walks through Arlington will continue, with members openly carrying rifles and shotguns.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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