The Alamo in San Antonio represents independence in Texas.
It is fitting, then, that 300-400 armed gun-enthusiasts rallied outside of the building on Saturday for a protest called “Come and Take It San Antonio!” The event was a reaction to attempts by San Antonio police to arrest armed citizens outside of Starbucks several months ago. The protestors claim that their Second Amendment rights are impeded on by a local ordinance.
C.J. Chivers, the president of Open Carry Texas, said, “[The San Antonio Police Department] is no longer going to be messing with us.”
Although it is legal to openly carry rifles and shotguns in Texas, San Antonio has an ordinance that limits open-carrying, specifically at public events.
Naturally, some people had negative reactions to the gathering.
Hilary Rand, a regional manager for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said, “If anything, they’re just alerting the general public that this is something that needs to be changed. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that it’s OK and that you should. And if anything they’re helping to make that argument for us.”
Rand and her counterparts held a small counter-demonstration down the road.
The reactions from tourists, who simply happened to be visiting the Alamo that day, were mixed.
49-year-old tourist Don Norwood said, “It’s healthy, that’s what America’s about.” Norwood was at the Alamo with his wife and daughter — they were not expecting the rally to take place.
A 21-year-old visitor who only gave his first name, Neil, said, “I was just trying to figure out what was going on and then I saw everybody carrying their weapons and I caught on. I don’t own any guns, but I do feel people have the right to bear arms as per the constitution. [But] why here? Why come out in an open park? Why in front of a monument? I do think that’s a little inappropriate.”
On Saturday, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said to the crowd, “I respect the opinions of folks who say this is not the right place, but I submit to you there’s one standard we should apply to gatherings here at this sacred cradle of Texas liberty and that is whether our activity and our purpose would be supported by those men who gave it all.”
Come and Take It America’s founder, Murdoch Pizgatti, said he thought that seeing a large and peaceful gathering of armed citizens downtown would help people be more comfortable with openly carrying weapons.
He said, “This was a public education showing that this can be done without incident, so in two years, when the Legislature is in open session, this event will be talked about when those bills are on the floor.”
Do you support yesterday’s rally at the Alamo? Tell us why (or why not) in the comments section below.