When Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, who voiced strong support for Second Amendment rights in his campaign, commented at a Texas Tribune event Tuesday that he did not believe open carry legislation could attract enough votes to pass "at this point," pro-gun activists went ballistic and started howling for Patrick's scalp, The Guardian reports.
C.J. Grisham, founder of Open Carry Texas, told the Guardian: "The fact that we're still fighting for those rights is aberrant to us Texans. We do have a reputation for being very pro-gun, so it boggles my mind why we don't live up to that expectation and that stereotype that we have.
"Where I believe our elected officials are failing Texas gun owners is in the Senate. If the votes aren't there, it means people aren't doing what they campaigned on in this last election cycle."
"It's time to hunt down the Republicans who don't support the Constitution and the Republican platform," the group posted on its Facebook page.
"Then, we will expose them and help them find a new job by making sure they won't have a chance to ever get elected in Texas again. Time to start sending these people to California."
An angry protest and threats by Open Carry Tarrant County in the office of Democrat Rep. Poncho Nevarez became so intense that the House chose to install "panic buttons" in members' offices and provide a security detail for Nevarez, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Patrick scrambled to bolster his pro-gun image, posting on Facebook: "There were inaccurate reports in the media and across the Internet yesterday regarding my comments concerning open carry legislation. Despite reports to the contrary, I have never changed my position on the issue. I remain a steadfast supporter of the Second Amendment and open carry legislation.
"I am an avid gun owner, was endorsed by the NRA with an 'A rating,' and have a 100 percent voting record on Second Amendment issues over eight years."
Texas, which has banned open carry of handguns for 125 years, is one of only six states to do so, including California, Florida, Illinois, New York and South Carolina, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. While 13 states require a special license to carry openly, the remaining 31 states do not require a permit.
Rifles and shotguns may be openly carried in Texas.
Over two dozen new pro-gun laws are pending in the Texas Legislature. One bill, considered likely to pass, would allow the carrying of handguns on campuses, The Guardian notes, and Patrick favors its passage.
Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told The Guardian: "Texas legislators should really be focused on doing more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people by passing legislation to expand background checks on all gun sales."