A gun-loving open carry activist took out his frustration with the legislative process in a four-minute video in which he apparently threatens lawmakers with execution for treason.
“I don’t know if they forgot what their duty is, and that’s to protect the Constitution,” says Kory Watkins, head of Open Carry Tarrant County. “And let me remind you – going against the Constitution is treason, and, my friend, that is punishable by death. That’s how serious this is.”
Watkins posted the video Wednesday morning on his Facebook page after staying up late “plotting,” but deleted it a short time later, saying he was afraid his comments would be misinterpreted, although at least one copy was uploaded to YouTube.
“In this video I referred to treason, and the fact that the penalty for treason was death,” he explained in a subsequent Facebook post. “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,” Watkins insisted. “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.”
The gun-rights activist is pushing lawmakers to pass what he describes as “constitutional carry” – that is, the legal carrying of handguns and rifles in public without licensing restrictions.
Lawmakers are considering a measure that would roll back a ban on the open carry of handguns, but with licensing restrictions that would likely prohibit Watkins from legally participating due to his arrest during a confrontation with police.
“They’re going to sell you your right back to you, which means it’s a privilege now,” Watkins says in the video. “You don’t have a right to bear arms in Texas, nope. You’ve got to ask your master, and you got to pay a tax. Yeah – that’s your free country for you. Keep singing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and the National Anthem – hope that makes everybody feel real good. Go watch ‘Honey Boo-Boo.’ Because they’re going to sell you your rights back to you, and you’re going to be satisfied about it. It’s a sad story.”
He complained that he was tired of waiting for the legislative process to play out, saying that lawmakers had forgotten their oath to uphold the constitution.
“I think here in Texas we’re tired of jacking around with people in suits who think that they can take away freedoms in the name of safety, who think they can give us our rights back slowly,” Watkins said.
The debate over open carry has been fraught with violent rhetoric, with some advocates threatening to “hunt down” Republican lawmakers who didn’t vote the way they wanted.
Watkins and other members of Open Carry Tarrant County berated two Democratic legislators — Poncho Nevarez and Celia Israel – outside their offices, prompting lawmakers to approve the installation of “panic buttons” and the authority to have “hostile” citizens summarily ejected from their offices.
He described himself sticking his foot in Neverez’s office door as a peaceful “Rosa Parks reminder,” but he said lawmakers should understand “this peaceful non-cooperation stuff is going to be gamed up” if open carry legislation isn’t passed without restrictions.
“I want to put more than my foot in that door,” Watkins said. “We should be doing way more than that, we should be demanding these people give us our rights back or it’s punishable by death. Treason. You understand how serious this is? Texas, we need to start sticking more than foots in doors. OK? This is treason against the American people. You don’t sell my rights back to me. You’re going to find trouble.”