The gun rights advocacy group Open Carry Texas (OCT) is moving forward with plans for a rally this Saturday in Houston's Fifth Ward, despite continued opposition from some in the community. David Amad with OCT tells KTRH the event is no different than others the group has done in communities all over the state. "It is Texans supporting their fellow Texans in Fifth Ward, and their right to keep and bear arms," he says. Nevertheless, the event has caused some controversy because OCT has made headlines in the past for members showing up at restaurants and stores with visible loaded weapons, even leading to a dust-up with the National Rifle Association (NRA) earlier this year.
This event is not meant to be confrontational, but rather to reach out to the community, according to Amad. "It's not a march, it's not a protest, it is a promotion of the Second Amendment, and an invitation to anyone in that community that would like to come and join us, to do so," he says. OCT notes on its website that Texas gun laws are "rooted in racism" by requiring high costs to obtain a concealed handgun license. The group goes on to say "much like Jim Crow laws of the past, Texas gun laws seem geared towards preventing the minority community from exercising their rights."
But community activist Quanell X apparently doesn't see it that way. He has raised opposition to Saturday's event and continued to do so when he met with OCT leaders Wednesday night. "He tried to make this about, in plain English, y'all are white and we don't want you here," says Amad. "I thought we were past all that, or at least I thought we were getting past all that." Amad tells KTRH the group shouldn't need "permission" from people like Quanell to hold a public event in the neighborhood. "We had a gentleman send us an e-mail the other day," says Amad. "He basically said nobody elected Quanell X king of black folks...he doesn't speak for us."
The rally is scheduled for noon Saturday at the corner of Lyons and Lockwood.