N. TX open carry activist denies making death threats in video

Open Carry Tarrant County leader Kory Watkins denies he's making death threats in a video posted online Wednesday.

In the video, Watkins appears to threaten lawmakers with death if they don't pass an open carry bill this session.

The video seemingly escalates tensions when open carry supporters already have made some state lawmakers uneasy. One state representative was assigned a security detail after activists confronted him in his office and refused to leave.

"We should demanding these people give us our rights back or it's punishable by death. Treason. Do you understand how serious this is Texas?" Watkins said in the video, which was allegedly posted to his personal Facebook page and then pulled.

A person copied the video and posted it on YouTube, but the video had been taken down as of Wednesday night.

Watkins said the peaceful protests by open carry supporters might need to come to an end sometime soon.

"They better start giving us our rights or this peaceful non-cooperation stuff is going to be gamed up. We are going to step it up a notch," Watkins said.

The video was shared with Arlington police, Texas legislators and the Department of Public Safety, and each said it was taking the video very seriously.

A few hours after the video was yanked from Facebook, Watkins posted comments attempting to walk back the comments from the video.

"I was not talking about hurting legislators, or anyone else. I am an advocate of peaceful non-cooperation," Watkins wrote, saying Open Carry Tarrant County follows in the tradition of Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.

That comment was likely referring to a face-to-face confrontation last month with State Representative Poncho Nevarez at his state capitol office, and that confrontation immediately prompted a vote by legislators to add panic buttons to their offices.

Watkins' attorney, Warren Norred, echoed Watkins' written post.

"It's the nature of the political action that he's involved in he's impatient but he doesn't mean that people should die or anything like that," Norred said.

Open carry supporters became frustrated last week when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he wasn't sure there would be enough support to pass an open carry bill this session.

There are some splits within the various groups that want open carry laws passed. Open Carry Texas said Watkins' Open Carry Tarrant County is doing more damage than good with his efforts, most recently criticizing the confrontations with lawmakers in their offices.

Tammy Koontz with Gun Rights Across America says a legislator disagreeing with open carry laws is not treason.

"We've been fighting for this for, how long, three years? Three years for a law that's 128 years old. It's not going to happen overnight and if you think threatening people is going to make it happen overnight, it's not going to," said Koontz.

Watkins has also been involved in so-called "cop-watches" in Arlington and protested the city's ordinance on passing out literature along streets and banning long guns from city meetings.


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