In what many had expected to be an easy vote of concurrence by the lower chamber of the state legislature of a proposal sent back to the House after a nail-biter Senate approval, lawmakers responded to apparent pressure from police groups and refused to pass the measure in a 63-79 roll call.
Watkins, long known as the front man for Open Carry Tarrant County then blasted out on social media Thursday morning a rant on lawmakers who voted against the measure the night before.
“I’m calling for the arrest of every elected official in Texas that voted against open carry. They should be arrested, charged with treason and should face a punishment that could result in being hung from the tree of liberty,” wrote Watkins. “What do you think gets their attention more after they go against the people? Some phone calls? Or actual liberty or death?”
This brought quick condemnation from gun control organizations including the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence who quickly repeated Watkin’s post.
Other gun rights advocates in the Lone Star State issued rapid statements distancing their groups from Watkins’s remarks.
“Kory being relevant to the gun discussion is like Jeffrey Dahmer being relevant to the meat packing industry,” said Open Carry Texas President CJ Grisham.
When asked about his comments, Watkins stood by them.
“Its pretty clear. We need to use our justice system to penalize legislators who go against their oath,” Watkins told Guns.com Thursday. “Right now there is no justice so they do what they want and that will continue.”
The bill at the heart of the debate, HB 910, would modify language that has been a part of Texas law since after the Civil War and allow the open carry of modern pistols or revolvers in public, provided the individual has a state-issued concealed handgun license. Currently, only black powder handguns and long arms may be lawfully carried. Those visiting Texas from other states, provided they have a recognized handgun license, would likewise be able to open carry.
The bill is set up for a conference committee while the current session is set to end on Monday.