Texas man forms border militia to promote gun shop: ‘It has nothing to do with being racist’
A Texas open-carry activist who has previously engaged in stunt promotions for his gun shop plans to organize his own border militia.
Derek Poe, owner of Golden Triangle Tactical, will outfit and fund the militia group through his business, which will provide AR-15 rifles, military-grade night vision goggles, and bulletproof vests.
He solicited volunteers Monday on the Facebook page for his Beaumont shop, saying recruits must pass a background check and physical fitness test to join.
“We’re not going to allow any felons,” Poe said. “We’re not going to let people join just to have members. We’ll have a certain quality of guys.”
Poe, who was wearing an “Impeach Obama: It’s not a radical thing, it’s an American thing” T-shirt when he met with a reporter and photographer from the Beaumont Enterprise, said militia members would also undergo “basic infantry-style training.”
The gun shop owner didn’t say when he would send the militia group, which will likely be called Golden Triangle Tactical Border Project, to the Brownsville area, but he plans to pay members an unspecified amount for each deployment.
Poe is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 20 for a disorderly conduct charge related to an open-carry demonstration in December at the mall where his shop is located.
He was charged after police said he was carrying the AR-15 “in a manner calculated to alarm,” but Poe insists he did nothing wrong by strapping the military-style rifle to his back and walk through the mall with a drink in one hand and a bag in the other.
One of Poe’s employees was cited in February after dressing up in a banana costume and carrying an AK-47 rifle and sign advertising the gun shop along a roadway.
The employee was legally carrying the weapon but had not obtained the required permit to display the sign.
Reporters from a local conservative talk radio station were already at the scene when police arrived.
Poe’s announcement of the militia group comes just days after Gov. Rick Perry deployed the Texas National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the influx of migrant children in recent months.
The number of families and children crossing the border has slowed in recent weeks, according to the San Antonio Express-News, but Poe believes more will come.
“We’re hoping to help protect Texas,” Poe said. “It has nothing to do with being racist. There is a right way to become a citizen.”
Border Patrol agents and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers have mistaken militia groups for tactical groups deployed by the DPS, the Associated Press reported.
That prompted an “issue paper” warning other border agents of their activities.
Poe said his militia will not be permitted to detain anyone or fire their weapons at anyone – unless it’s in self-defense, he said.
Militia members won’t be permitted to drink alcohol while deployed in small groups for up to five days at a time, depending on members’ work schedules.
[Image via Facebook]