Open Carry Texas, a gun rights advocacy group, announced that they have scheduled their march through the Fifth Ward in Houston. The march, which was initially scheduled for Juneteenth but postponed at the last minute, will feature open-carry enthusiasts marching through the streets of the predominantly black Houston neighborhood carrying long assault rifles. The group has gained notoriety in recent months due to their publicity stunts which have featured members entering restaurants and stores with their assault rifles on full display. Apparently, the group has decided to up their game.
CJ Grisham, the founder of Open Carry Texas, decided to address the criticism his group has encountered regarding this planned march. When the march was first scheduled, Grisham and the group came under intense criticism for a variety of reasons. Even after OCT postponed the march, the group was under fire due to the appearance of racial insensitivity. OCT posted the following late Monday evening on the group’s website:
“We are not going to be marching through 5th Ward,” said OCT Founder CJ Grisham, “we’re going to hopefully be marching with 5th Ward.”
Open Carry Texas believes that Texas’ gun laws continue to be rooted in racism. In order to obtain a concealed handgun license in Texas, one needs to shell out over $250 in fees and requirements to do so. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Texas was 14.4% in 2010, the date of the last census. In the African-American community, the poverty rate was 27.1%, nearly twice the state poverty rate and almost three times higher than non-Hispanic whites. In other words, the extreme cost to obtain a license in Texas – over $250 – disproportionately prevents African-Americans from getting one.
Texas law prevents anyone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor or higher from qualifying for a concealed handgun license for at least five years. The convictions do not need to be related to violence or even involve a gun. Some examples of “crimes” that will cause you to lose your CHL or fail to qualify for one are littering, writing a hot check, or even certain traffic infractions not involving another person.
Much like the Jim Crow laws of the past, Texas gun laws seem geared towards preventing the minority community from exercising their rights. We aim to change that.
Open Carry Texas also announced that they’ll have a real-life black person marching with them, Maurice Muhammad. As Liberaland pointed out, Muhammad is a radical who promotes the killing of police officers on his Facebook page. He also is apparently the leader of a group that openly wishes for a race war. Liberaland also pointed out that OCT’s blog entry is more about Grisham’s own issues with the law than his concerns about the black community. While he talks a big game about unfair laws regarding gun ownership, and he positions himself as some kind of civil rights fighter, the reality is that he himself has a conviction on his record and cannot apply for a conceal-carry license. Which is likely the reason he started this group in the first place.
Anyway, these gun nuts plan on marching through the Fifth Ward on August 16th. Once again, like they claimed last time, this is only supposed to be a peaceful demonstration as well as a charitable action. They just want to educate the residents of the area. They positively, absolutely do not want anything unseemly or ugly to occur. Nuh-uh. No way. And this time, no one can claim it is all just a bunch of white guys marching through a black neighborhood carrying a bunch of guns. Because they got a black guy with them. It is totally cool now.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).