Members of Open Carry Texas (OCT) showed up at Main Street Arts Festival on Saturday to parade around with guns.

The organization’s website says its mission includes educating Texans about their right to openly carry rifles and shotguns, and to “condition residents to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them.”

Seems like Fort Worth folks are fairly conditioned already.

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“We didn’t get a whole bunch of feedback on them except on twitter,” said festival spokeswoman Clair Bloxom Armstrong.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy tweeted a picture of a dozen gun-toting members standing on one of Sundance Square’s redbrick roads. The photo prompted readers’ comments ranging from “lunatics setting 4th Street back 200 years” to “please ignore them…this is exactly what they want… .”

A group called Americans Against The Tea Party posted a negative write-up under the headline “Open Carry Texas Invades Art Festival, Brings Armed Kids!

The article characterized OCT members as “gun-toting domestic terrorists,” and claimed the group attended the festival despite being banned. The festival spokesperson, however, said the group wasn’t forbidden.

“Because it’s a free and open-to-the-public event, we don’t have the ability to tell a group that they can or cannot come to the festival,” Armstrong said.

The blog site Liberally Lean From The Land Of Dairy Queen posted Kennedy’s photo, prompting comments from both sides of the argument. Here’s my favorite: “Sometimes I wished I had some firepower when accosted by mimes and those darn face painters.”


  1. Interesting. It seems that the OCT group successfully made their points and accomplished their goals. They not only got noticed but that pretty much all the reactions, negative and positive– but especially the non-reactive and non-alarming– they received contributed to educating people about their constitutional rights and that law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights did not hurt anyone, unlike the countless individuals who had committed crimes and mass shootings: they didn’t casually walk around showing that they were armed but attacked their victims by surprise with well hidden weapons.

    I wonder how much effect the fairly extensive news coverage of the stand off between heavily armed government agents and hundreds of legally armed citizens at the Bundy Ranch going on at the same time as the Arts Festival had on how festival goers and media reacted. That government overreach and overwhelming show of military-style power certainly made many reasonable people rethink about the practical real-life application of the 2nd Amendment in modern America where citizens are concerned not just about protecting themselves and their properties from criminal individuals but from an expanding government that is willing to use militarized law enforcement agencies to enforce laws, or impose its will or the wills of law enforcement agents themselves, against its mostly unarmed and usually innocent civilians. In other words, the Founding Fathers who carefully wrote the U.S. Constitution were not thinking of just hunting and recreational shooting when they chose to express the citizens’ right to bear arms as the second most important right in their minds when they wrote, argued, and approved that revolutionary document. For those who have issues with children and this issue, please keep in mind that the American War of Independence, like most fights against tyranny or foreign occupation, was not carried out as traditional warfare between established nations using mutually accepted rules of war, namely using organized armies (of adult males) with uniforms and chain of command, etc. In fact, women and even children played important roles in the colonists’ non-traditional (or “asymmetric war” as the pros refer to it today) fight for their independence from King George’s professional army, the best army of their time serving the world’s dominant empire.

  2. Why is the 2nd Amendment the only one some people think should require a background check and a permit to exercise? Open Carry Tarrant County is merely exercising the rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone.

    I’d like to thank every member of Open Carry Tarrant County and Open Carry Texas who helped us kick off our Libertarian Party of Texas State Convention last weekend with an open carry walk and rally in Temple. Keep walking and working for freedom!

    • To answer your question, no right is truly absolute because every legal right for an individual must be balanced out with the rights of others, both as individuals and as a community. Case in point is our 1st amendment right of free speech, which is not absolute but has been accepted by most people as having limitations as to manner, time, and place of its exercise (per established case law). We accept these reasonable limitations because words have a lot of power and because we aspire for as orderly and harmonious (some say “peaceful”) of a society as we can while retaining our individual free speech right as we can. It would create all kinds of strife and even violence if people have absolute rights to free speech, say, the neighbor blasting music with lyrics that are considered vulgar, hateful, etc. at any time of day or night, or use what are considered “adult language” at a children’s venue like a playground or school.

      Guns also have a lot of power, especially lethal power that could injure, destroy, or take a life. Trying to prevent individuals who have verifiable serious risk factors such as certain kinds of criminal history (e.g. convicted felons and other known perpetrators of violence against people, for starters) or certain types of mental illness are reasonable limitations for other innocent individuals and society. While not foolproof, background checks and permits are reasonable government actions. Hopefully, government and its agents like police and sheriff deputies will also come to the realization that their many “rights” in using force and violence are to be exercised with great care and good judgement as they perform their duties to enforce just and constitutional laws, as opposed to blindly and mindlessly “just following orders.” They must remember that their “orders” don’t just come from their superiors in the department or even in the government but that their orders and authority (to use force and lethal weapons, to take away rights like freedom to move, etc.) ultimately come from “We the People”– meaning we must be vigilant in maintaining the kind of society that Thomas Jefferson described as where people do not fear the government, but where the government fears the people.

      This analysis comes from a person who is not considered a political partisan and by no means an extremist, conspiracist, or even an alarmist: the rapid expansion of government and its growing intrusion into our lives (for illustration, a veteran policeman claims confidently that give him five minutes driving right behind a vehicle and he could find at least 2-3 laws/codes in the book that would allow him to lawfully pull the driver over and then charge him or her with breaking “the law”) combined with the increasing militarization of our traditional “peace officers”– due to rapid adoption of military equipments and practices and many officers who were involved in the wars in Iraq and Afganistan– are reasons for serious concern and evaluation of what we expect our government to look and behave in terms of our rights and liberties. Consider how quickly Russia has returned to a de facto autocratic government after being liberated from such an oppressive government just a couple decades earlier. Like in the United States, the Russian people gradually relinquished their freedom and liberties because of “war on crime/drugs” or “national security” threats that the government claims as the justification for its expansion and the simultaneous reduction of citizens’ rights.

    • Well, this is an easy to question answer. None of the other Amendments deal with carrying a weapon designed to kill things.

  3. Thank God that there are people out there that are willing to put up with the negative comments and threats of the anti-gun nuts in order to protect our rights, so that more instances of what the government was/is trying to do at the Bundy Ranch doesn’t happen. Our founding fathers knew that governments grow more towards tyranny each day they exist and they wanted us to have the tools to resist and stop that progression. Thank you OCT.

    • Bundy Ranch is the sad story about some old guy who doesn’t want to pay for upkeep on public land so his cows can graze. And unless he’s Native American his “Ancestral land” claim is invalid. Moral of the Story = Pay your bills.

  4. I found it annoying there was political stuff at an Art Festival. But whatever, for people claiming to love guns and their 2nd Amendment, they are doing a horrible job raising their childre. Look at the boy with the rifle. Bolt closed, finger on the trigger. At a public event. Look, if you feel inadequate and want to compensate by carrying a weapon in the open that’s just fine. Given the strength of the argument given by Open Carry, I gather more than a few of them don’t qualify for concealed. But poor trigger discipline is appalling.

    • I can’t tell if his finger is on the trigger or on the front of the trigger guard. If it is on the trigger, I agree that it shouldn’t be—that is just basic gun safety (and is one of the safety rules listed by Open Carry Texas)

      I don’t think anything necessarily political was going on. No endorsement of candidates or anything… Just people out exercising their rights while enjoying the festival.

  5. People exercised the right to bear arms, and no one was put in danger. The vast majority of gun owners are statistically society’s most law abiding people. An armed society is a polite society–I would bet no crimes of any kind were committed in this area of the festival! The mere precense of firearms is a proven crime deterrent.

    Texas should legalize the open carry of handguns like most states! I bet many would prefer to carry a pistol than to have a large rifle slung over their backs.

    As for the title of this article—the writer obviously does not know much about guns or Texas gun laws.