Less than two months after a Texas law went into effect allowing citizens to open carry handguns, Texas police arrested a man for doing just that Saturday afternoon.
Brett Sanders, an open carry activist who has written for PINAC in the past, drew the attention of Southlake police after he stood on the side of a highway holding up a sign saying, “cops ahead,” warning drivers of an upcoming speed trap.
The speed trap consisted of one cop who had already handed out several speeding tickets when Sanders walked up on State Highway 114, open carrying a Glock 9 mm on his hip as well as carrying a concealed Ruger .380 in his right pocket.
He was also carrying a Canon Rebel and an iPhone, both which were recording.
Within a minute of him walking up to the side of the highway, the cop, who was parked about 50 yards behind him put his car into reverse and drove backwards on the side of the road for about 20 yards before stopping the car, stepping out and walking up to Sanders.
The officer, who identified himself as D’Amico, initially confronted Sanders for being a pedestrian standing on a highway, which he said was illegal – as it is in many states – but there does not seem to be a specific law in Texas forbidding that.
D’Amico told Sanders he was being detained and demanded his identification, which Sanders refused to provide.
It was not until six minutes into his video that D’Amico noticed he was open carrying, which was when he began asking for his “CHL,” which stands for concealed handgun license.
“If you’re open carrying, you need to show me your CHL, man,” D’Amico said.
Sanders refused to provide that as well. The two then continued to have a conversation about Constitutional rights for another three minutes before another Southlake cop pulled up and handcuffed Sanders citing officer safety.
That cop also placed Sanders’ sign over his camera lens, blacking out the rest of the video, even though it was still recording audio.
To D’Amico’s credit, he never took an issue with Sanders’ recording, stressing several times throughout the video that he supports citizens recording cops.
D’Amico also did not seem to be too fearful of the fact that Sanders was open carrying, unlike the second cop.
D’Amico’s main concern was that Sanders was standing on the side of the roadway, which was a legitimate concern considering the speed of traffic, but he may have erred in stating that it was against the law.
The cops eventually identified him by running the tags from this truck, which was parked nearby, which matched them with his driver license information, enabling them to see his picture.
He said he also confirmed his identity in jail.
Sanders ended up spending a few hours in jail on two charges of unlawfully carrying a weapon before he was released with the help of attorney Alex Kim.
So now the question is, will the charges stick or will be able to beat the rap?
Although he never informed them, Sanders does have a concealed weapons permit from Florida, which is valid in Texas, so that should be enough to win his case.
He has never lived in Florida, but obtained the permit through the Sunshine State by taking a class in Texas and sending in his fingerprints.
He said Texas makes it more of an inconvenience to obtain a permit by requiring the citizen to undergo a session of target practice. It also costs twice as much and does not expire as quick as a Texas concealed weapon permit.
The main question will be whether or not he was required to produce the permit upon demand simply because he was open carrying.
According to the site, Open Carry Texas, citizens who are open carrying are only required to provide their identification and permit if they are being detailed for probable cause or reasonable suspicion that they are involved in a crime.
D’Amico told Sanders that he was being detained for standing on the side of a highway, but as mentioned above, there does not appear to a law forbidding that, although I will admit, I only read the section of Texas law addressing pedestrians.
If anything, it permits citizens to walk on the highway as long as they are walking in the direction of traffic. Sanders wasn’t walking but he was attempting to hold up his sign in the direction of traffic.
However, even if there is a law forbidden him from walking on the highway, they did not charge him with breaking that law, sticking to the two charges of unlawfully carrying weapons, which are misdemeanors.
But Sanders says that most cops and gun advocates in Texas are under the impression that they are legally required to produce the concealed permit upon demand if they are open carrying – which is something he wants changed.
“Everybody is under the impression that cops do have the right to walk up to an open carriers and demand their CHL,” he said.
“I’m here to change that shit,” he said.