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Open Carry Texas Founder Says His Gun Rights Movement Is Not Scary

Jennifer Whitney
Texas Tribune
More than 1,000 people turned out at a gun rights rally in San Antonio last fall.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Open Carry Texas’ founder sounds off on his movement; Fort Worth wants to buy the city’s historic post office; a bunch of divers jumped off tall cliffs at Possum Kingdom Lake; and more.

The founder of Open Carry Texas is fighting back against criticism that his group scares folks as they try to legalize open-carry handguns in the state. CJ Grisham, the group’s president, says Open Carry members make an effort to be as “friendly and unassuming” as possible as they carry military-style rifles into restaurants and at rallies. The effort has generated national controversy in recent weeks as several restaurants have asked customers to leave their guns at home and gun opponents have criticized the open-carry movement. “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and its media surrogates … lie, distort and manipulate their way to the heart of their base and sunshine patriot gun owners,” Grisham wrote in a piece for the Texas Tribune. The National Rifle Association recently said open-carry supporters who’ve worn rifles in public are “weird” and “downright scary” – but the NRA eventually retracted the statement. Grisham wrote in the Tribune piece: “I never realized … how difficult this fight would become or how low the gun control lobby would go. I also never anticipated the kind of friendly fire we would come under.”

  • Fort Worth has plans to buy the city’s historic downtown post office. We reported earlier this year that the U.S. Postal Service plans to move out of the building. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the Lancaster Tax Increment Reinvestment Board will vote Tuesday on creating a development agreement with the city to help buy the building. Council member Jungus Jordan told the newspaper that the “mission right now is secure the historic building for the people of Fort Worth.” He said the development should be a “showplace” for the city. The beaux-arts/classical revival building has stunning architectural details, including six glass writing tables in the lobby with bronze lion-head supports, the newspaper reports.

  • SMU has a Chinese Torah scroll from the 17th century -- and it's making a special appearance at the Vatican. Sam Hodges with the United Methodist News Service reports the scroll is part of an exhibit organized by The Green Collection/Museum of the Bible. It’s on display through June 22 at the Braccio di Carlo Magno museum, adjacent to St. Peter’s Square. The scroll has an interesting backstory – it arrived at Bridwell Library at SMU in the 1960s after its owner, an Oklahoma businessman who collected rare Bibles, died. The library turned to a Dallas Jewish businessman, who tracked down the scroll’s origins. The news made The New York Times. Descendants of Chinese Jews have come to SMU to view the scroll. A Museum of the Bible official saw the scroll and wanted it included in the Vatican exhibit. The scroll is scheduled to be back at SMU in July.

  • KXT, our sister station that plays great music all the time, is considered one of the “10 public radio stations you wish were in your town.” Paste, an online magazine, compiled the list – 10 stations supported by listeners with “consistently great programming, great hosts, and even some local flavor.” What did Paste say about KXT? “The newest to the broadcast scene on this list also has the largest listenership of all AAA stations across the country. Needless, to say, they’ve gained impressive ground since their first broadcast in 2009, with recent live sessions from festival-hoppers The Hold Steady and British indie darling Dan Croll. Those five years have also brought five years of Barefoot at the Belmont, a summer concert series in Dallas.”

  • A bunch of the world’s best high-divers traveled to North Texas over the weekend to dive into Possum Kingdom Lake. A British diver, Gary Hunt, won the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. He earned a record high score for himself and the series. “Hunt saved a front triple somersault with three and a half twists for his last dive, earning three scores of 9.5 from the judges,” according to the Cliff Diving World Series’ website. Rachelle Simpson from San Antonio won the inaugural women’s event. Here’s a video:

Photo Credit: Jennifer Whitney/Texas Tribune

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.