A Texas gun store owner was arrested for carrying an AR-15 into a city of Beaumont mall, where his business is located. It is legal to open carry a long rifle in a non-threatening manner in the Lone Star State. Derek Poe,26, had his semi-automatic rifle slung across his back and was carrying a drink and a shopping bag in his hands in front of him.
The Golden Triangle Tactical store owner was arrested on a misdemeanor disturbing the peace charge. Beaumont Police Sergeant Rob Flores stated during an interview with the Houston Chronicle that Derek Poe turned himself in after the district attorney’s office in the Texas town issued a warrant for his arrest. According to Sergeant Flores, his department received emergency calls from mall shoppers who stated they were “terrified” and felt they were going to be killed. According to the officer’s statements, even though Poe may have been in compliance with state gun laws, he broke disturbing the peace statutes because of the reaction by mall shoppers.
Poe maintains he was carrying the AR-15 in compliance with Texas open carry laws, and stated so repeatedly in a respectful manner in a video shot when he turned himself in. “It was clearly obvious I didn’t have criminal intent. I didn’t commit a crime. I legally carried a long arm in Texas,” Poe told local KBMT-12 News. The Golden Triangle Tactical gun store owner was not taken into custody, but his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was confiscated while the incident was investigated.
A post on Poe’s Facebook page after turning his rifle into police reads:
“If you think Texas is an open carry state when it comes to rifles apparently not,” read the post, which referred to “a select few thugs in the Beaumont Police department.”
Open carry laws in Texas permit citizens to carry rifles as long as it is not done in a threatening manner. Handguns are not allowed to be carried openly, a resident or visiting individual must possess a valid concealed carry license to pack such a weapon in public. An Open Carry Freedom Walk, which was scheduled before the Derek Poe incident, will take place on January 18 in the local Gander Mountain parking lot.
Sergeant Flores said the police department is communicating with organizers, Derek Poe, and his attorney to ensure that the right to bear arms walk is “set up the event properly.” Walk organizers have invited folks who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry rifles or a long gun displayed in a non-threatening manner to join them for a stroll down Dowlen Road.
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