More than 50 activists supporting the freedom to openly carry long guns, rifles and shotguns in public met in the parking lot next the Waxahachie Parks and Recreation building for a rally and town square march Saturday morning.
The rally was organized by R.C. Lyon, who announced himself as a candidate for county judge, and C.J Grisham from Temple.
“We wanted to bring awareness to Ellis County for the Open Carry Texas campaign, Lyon said.
Among those attending and supporting the campaign was Constable Mike Jones; Pct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry; former Ellis County Sheriff candidate and Dallas County Deputy Susan Welch Rodriguez; candidate T.J. Fabby, who is running for the Texas House of Representatives; and Darrin Bravenec, who has announced his candidacy for Ellis County Pct 2 Commissioner.
Fabby took the stage saying he totally supports the constitutional right to bear arms.
Soliciting more support for the constitution’s second amendment was Bravenec.
“I encourage you to take a leadership role to bring awareness to maintaining our rights. We need to bring those over to our side to support the cause for our constitution,” Brabenec said.
The Waxahachie rally was one of several Johnson has taken across the state.
“We have held these rallies supporting Open Carry Texas in Houston, Denton, Dallas and here today in Waxahachie,” Grisham said. Many of Grisham’s followers from Temple, Houston and Dallas were among the attendees.
“We try in each town to sponsor, in a peaceful manner, an open carry walk,” Grisham said.
“We are an armed society trying to prove it is time to prove to our legislators to allow open carrying,” Grisham said.
Jones took to the stage saying he represents Ellis County law enforcement. He was met with several shouts of opposition when he announced that recent legislation signed by Governor Rick Perry makes it a criminal offense to openly carry a firearm.
With the passage of Senate Bill 299, you cannot carry your gun openly after Sept. 1,” Jones said.
Jones’ comments were met with several shouts.
“That’s against our rights.”
“That violates our second amendment rights as citizens.”
“I’m just telling you what the new law is going to be. I just learned about this yesterday. I didn’t write or approve this law. I am just a law enforcement officer charged with enforcing the law,” Jones said.
Jones went on to say that in Ellis County an individual would not be hassled for carrying their gun.
“If it’s a crowd that is carrying several weapons, there might be some questions asked,” Jones said.
Before the march began the final speaker was the Rev. Stephen Broden from the Faith Park Bible Church in Dallas.
“We are facing the destruction of the constitution before our very eyes. All three branches or our federal government are against the constitution. We as a society need to get off our couches, stop sleeping in on Saturday and Sundays and worrying if the Cowboys are going to win or not and show we care about our nation and our freedom,” Broden said.
“It’s more than the second amendment, its about our constitution as a whole. Our constitution is already tattered and torn and is one shred from going away. If it goes away it will not come back, our rights will be lost forever,” Broden said
Johnson started the rallies following his arrest in Temple.
“I was walking with my son doing a hike for a Boy Scout requirement. I was carrying my rifle in a non-threatening way. Somebody got concerned and called the police. Soon I was under arrest for resisting arrest. I would not surrender my gun and had other charges,” Grisham said.
“If this could happen to me, it can happen to you. That is my purpose for this statewide campaign. We are trying to get state legislators to recognize an armed society is a safe society. Most gun owners are not bad,” Grisham said.
“When we get the state of Texas to legalize the open carrying of firearms, I want to take this to the national level and have an Open Carry for America,” he said.
Saturday’s march began in front of the city hall, continued up College Street and turned in front of the Historic Court House. The group then proceeded down Rogers Street to the Parks Building parking lot.