Protesters standing up for right to carry in Texas

Protesters carrying rifles gathered outside the McAllen police department Saturday afternoon.

"Open Carry Texas" organized the demonstration after one of its members was arrested for having rifle at the police station.

A large crowd gathered in front of the McAllen public safety building Saturday afternoon.

Those in attendance said they were exercising their rights as Texans to openly carry long guns.

Most are members of the group "Open Carry Texas" and some even traveled from as far as Houston.

"In my opinion a right not exercised is a right that is easily taken away so if we don TMt go and exercise our right to open carry long arms, we TMre going to lose that right," said demonstrator and Open Carry Texas member Jeremy Witt.

Zach Horton is the reason these protestors are here.

He was arrested Thursday by McAllen police for having a rifle in his vehicle that was parked at the police station - something McAllen police claim is illegal.

Horton was impressed by the demonstration's turnout.

"A lot of people have forgotten some of those laws because they haven TMt been used in quite a while so were down here re-educating people just because you see someone with a gun doesn TMt mean that they are a bad person," said pro-gun activist Zach Horton.

Witt agrees with Horton.

"We TMre not out to cause any harm to anyone, were not trying to cause any trouble were just exercising our rights," said Witt.

He exercised his rights in front of six different police stations throughout the valley this week without trouble, but it was a different story when got to his last stop in McAllen.

"I was having really good rapport with the other chief of police in this area. They were very open to it," recalled Horton.

He told Action 4 News that he wanted to take a picture with his semiautomatic rifle in front of the police department in hopes to raise awareness about the open carry law.

Instead he was arrested and charged with a felony for carrying a weapon on places weapons are prohibited.

"In Texas the carrying of a long gun openly and responsibly is unregulated and unlicensed. You TMre allowed to do that anywhere in public," claims Horton.

His weapon wasn't on him at the time of the arrest, Horton says, it was still in his vehicle meaning it was within his rights to carry his rifle.

"It TMs something that doesn TMt get done every day and that TMs really why we TMre out here trying to show when you see a man with a gun it TMs not immediately a threat. The gun is not the TMs a person," he said.

Despite his arrest, Horton feels he's a responsible gun owner and agrees Texans should undergo thorough background checks and psychological evaluations before being permitted to carry firearms to prevent tragedies.