In an online video, a North Texas gun rights activist pushing for legislation allowing Texans to openly carry guns tells legislators that treason is "punishable by death."
Kory Watkins of Open Carry Tarrant County posted Wednesday, then later pulled, the YouTube link from his Facebook page.
In it he says, "We should be demanding these people give us our rights back, or it's punishable by death. Treason. Do you understand how serious this is, Texas?"
He tells viewers to do "more than foots in doors," apparently referring to a confrontation he had with Rep. Poncho Nevarez at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 13. Nevarez's chief of staff said he forwarded the video to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Watkins later explained on Facebook that he "was certainly not threatening anyone."
“Let me make it clear and unequivocal: I was not talking about hurting legislators, or anyone else,” Watkins wrote on his Facebook page. “I am an advocate of peaceful non-cooperation. … We at Open Carry Tarrant County denounce in the strongest terms harming or threatening to harm persons or property as a strategy to bring about open carry in Texas. Anyone who has done so, has not done so on behalf of our organization.”
While Watkins pulled the video, it has circulated on YouTube:
Open carry 'extremists' threatening, 'Gun Sense' group says
In response to Watkins' video, the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America released a statement from volunteer Claire Larson:
“These antics are no longer just theatrics and dramatic advocacy, open carry extremists have been threatening the safety and sanity of our communities for far too long and now they are threatening the lives of Texas legislators. Make no mistake, if Texas lawmakers continue to prioritize the expansion of open carry in any form—they are condoning this type of dangerous behavior. Texas Moms understand how serious this is – and we urge Texas lawmakers to take these threats seriously too, respect the legislative process, and oppose the expansion of open carry in our state. After all, there are no panic buttons on the playground like the ones they had installed in their offices.”
Full statement from Watkins
Here's what Watkins wrote on his Facebook page:
This morning I removed a video from my Facebook because I thought there were those that would intentionally misinterpret my words. In this video I referred to treason, and the fact that the penalty for treason was death. My intent was to show that our founders took treason very seriously. Our elected officials have taken an oath to defend the constitution. Dereliction of that oath is an equally serious matter. I was certainly not threatening anyone. I love the constitution dearly, and the constitution is very clear on the process for convicting someone for treason, I was obviously not calling for such a process, nor was I threatening anyone. I simply wished to point out the seriousness of the constitution.
Let me make it clear and unequivocal: I was not talking about hurting legislators, or anyone else. I am an advocate of peaceful non-cooperation. When I speak of "stepping it up a notch" mean within the boundaries of "peaceful non-cooperation". Instead of just a foot in the door. perhaps we need "sit ins" chanting "hell no we won't go".
We at Open Carry Tarrant County denounce in the strongest terms harming or threatening to harm persons or property as a strategy to bring about open carry in Texas. Anyone who has done so, has not done so on behalf of our organization. We at Open Carry Tarrant County proudly follow in the tradition of Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks in in using peaceful noncooperation as a means to demand our rights.