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Gun Activists Displaying Firearms Restricted To Area Outside Texas GOP Convention

Rodger Mallison
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Open carry gun activists will gather outside the Fort Worth Convention Center when the Texas Republican Convention begins Thursday.

Some 11,000 Republicans headed to their state convention in Fort Worth on Thursday will be greeted by armed protesters as they enter the convention center.

“I am hopeful, because we’ve sent several emails to delegates and alternatives, that nobody will be spooked by that,” Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri said.

Open-carry gun rights activists wanted to take their rifles, AK-47s and long guns into the Fort Worth Convention Center, but Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules prohibit the display of firearms at facilities that have permits to serve alcohol.

So activists displaying their weapons will be restricted to a protest area near the entrance.

Munisteri says conventioneers with concealed handgun licenses can bring their firearms inside as long as they’re kept out of sight.

The exception to the rule is black powder guns, which are typically loaded by putting powder down the barrel instead of using bullets. Munisteri says they aren’t specifically covered under TABC law, so owners can show them off at the three-day gathering.

North Texans who want the right to openly carry weapons have made headlines in recent weeks after taking their long guns inside restaurants -- places that have asked customers to leave their guns at home.

Open-carry supporters say they’ll be at the convention because they want Republicans to adopt a party platform that calls on state lawmakers to pass less restrictive open-carry laws, especially for handguns.

Photo credit: Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.