Open-Carry Legal Advice in the Wake of Charlottesville

Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor addresses the legal issue of whether you can legally open carry your firearm at a demonstration in Texas—and why such an action can get you unwanted police attention.


Sam: Welcome to U.S. LawShield and Texas LawShield’s Live Report on Facebook Live. From the news desk in Houston, I am Sam Malone.

Let me get to Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor, a woman who can break the internet as a lawyer. How are you Emily? What’s going on?

Emily: I’m great, how are you?

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Sam: Fan-tastic. After the violence that took place in Virginia, where you had members of various hate groups, and had leftist groups in there fighting, in a car and a person died. What kind of advice do you have? Let’s say something like that had — there was a rally, going to be a protest in Texas. What advice do you have on concealed carry and open carry? Obviously you want to bring your gun, because there’s a lot of thugs who have been looting and burning, and doing all kinds of bad behavior when Trump was elected, when Trump was inaugurated. We saw it happen at Berkeley, Chicago. Anyway what advice do you have for going into a crowd where there’s a lot of anger and there could be violence with an open carry or concealed carry?

Emily: Well here’s what I’ll say first. There are many states that actually have laws against carrying a firearm into a permitted protest or rally. Texas is not one of those states. So in Texas, so long as you have that license to carry, you may have your weapon with you at one of these protests or rallies.

open carry
Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor

Just because the law says its okay doesn’t mean that it is without restriction or limitation and I would just issue some words of caution which is that in these situations, which I think can get very tense, if you have a visible weapon, you’re kind of opening the door to the guys on the other side of this protest. Because they see your weapon, and you get mad, and it gets heated, and you exchange words. It is really easy for them to call the cops up and say “Hey that guy with the 1911 on his belt, pulled it, and he pointed at me.” You’re sort of giving them a head start on making up these tales, which you might think that I sound really paranoid and crazy saying that, but we say it in road rage all the time where people will just, you know, get in a road rage, look at that pickup truck, and say “I bet there’s a gun in there” and calling the police and say “oh yeah, that red pickup, the crazy guy waved a gun at me” and it’s totally illegitimate but it requires a police response.

Sam: Emily Taylor, independent program attorney, U.S. LawShield. This is why you need U.S. LawShield folks. There are so many questions and so many answers, and they’re on call, and the entire lawyer staff, Emily included, are there to help you.


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Comment section

10 comments on “Open-Carry Legal Advice in the Wake of Charlottesville

  1. Not only can they lie about you, some idiot could even try to take your
    Me, I stay away from protests. They are getting rough on both sides.

    • But if you stay away from a demonstration over a topic you feel strongly about, you are playing right into the hands of the Alt Right and Alt Left who want no other voice heard but their own

  2. The better question would be if you can, should you?

  3. But can you conceal carry to these things?

  4. Think about it. Is vandalizing a statue a death penalty offense? Having a license to carry gives you the right to defend yourself. It doesn’t make you the public defender of the American Way, administering summary execution to suspicious characters. I am quite offended that anybody would desecrate the Confederate statues, but I think that a good flogging is more appropriate for the crime than execution.

    • I wouldn’t open carry at a protest, but you can be sure I will be armed. Open carry is asking for trouble because some idiot would want to start something. You know there are stupid people everywhere. Now if they want to act stupid and try to harm me then yes, they are the ones that killed themselves by their actions against me. People are just crazy any more and get themselves killed over ridiculous things.

  5. Emily,
    I agree with You one hundred per cent about the open carry at a protest or
    rally. Even worse they might try and take it from the person.

  6. What would you recommend someone do if they are being sucker punched or someone is throwing something at you? Just stand there and take it? Doesn’t one have the 1st amendment right to attend a rally without fear of being attacked? Not trying to sound radical, but one might have to a) defend themselves. b) make an example out of someone to get these fringe groups to knock this off.

    • Hi Brett. Thanks for your question! Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys here in Texas.

      “You have the right to use force or deadly force to protect yourself or another person against an attacker who you reasonably believe is using unlawful force or deadly force. It is important to not disqualify yourself from being justified or by using force or deadly force too soon. Keep in mind that in a riot or melee situation it is often difficult for the police and prosecutors to tell who is the party using the “unlawful force”. A person who is using force or deadly force when defending themselves or someone else is justified. Using force or deadly force for the purposes of making an example out of someone is probably not justified.”

  7. Me too, I stay away from protests period. Taking a weapon to a protest is like having a gun fight OK corral!
    I think its common sense just to stay out of it

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