By the hundreds, guitar-toting Texans came to a bridge in downtown Dallas on Sunday to deliver a simple message that the streets would be a lot safer if people packed musical instruments instead of firearms.
The event called Open Carry Guitar Rally was aimed at trying to curtail the desire of gun owners to carry handguns openly in public, mocking rallies held in support of such firearms measures.
"A lot of the people that are here are gun owners. They just think that the open carry thing is crazy," said organizer Kyle Reynolds, 46.
Reynolds put the event together after groups in favor of allowing the open carry of handguns brandished weapons at rallies for expanded gun rights in city streets, area stores and the capitol.
In response, restaurants including Sonic Drive-In and Chili's asked customers to refrain from bringing firearms into their establishments, saying the weapons can create an uncomfortable atmosphere.
Texas allows for the licensed carrying of concealed handguns and the open carrying of rifles and shotguns among the public.
The Republican-dominated legislature is poised to make it easier to take firearms to more places, allowing for the open carry of handguns.
At the Open Carry Guitar Rally, hundreds walked along Continental Avenue Bridge with rare guitars and bargain basement instruments, getting together for jam sessions in the shade.
Rebecca Birmingham Montgomery, 52, is like many others in the crowd who know that the gun lobby is stronger than the music lobby in Texas and expanded gun rights are coming, but want to have their voices and six-stringed instruments heard.
"Open carry might be inevitable, but at least this is our small little PSA (public service announcement) saying ‘carry guitars not guns,'" said Montgomery, who strutted with her gold, Hagstrom II guitar.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Paul Simao)