The Houston Chapter of Open Carry Texas postponed, somewhat abruptly, a march that had been planned for Sunday through the city’s predominantly African-American Fifth Ward, a neighborhood originally settled by newly freed slaves after the Civil War. According to Talking Points Memo, the event, advertised as a canned-food drive, was postponed due to a scheduling conflict with founder C.J. Grisham. Grisham instead attended an event in the smaller, and predominantly white, city of Big Spring.
Grisham also told the Houston Press that, while the Fifth Ward wasn’t the most obvious place for an Open Carry Walk, “somebody’s got to stand up and sit in the front of the bus.”
Open Carry activist David Amad said on his blog that the event was not planned with racist intentions.
“In order to respond directly to this challenge by a liberal, anti-gun race baiter, we planned an event in the Fifth Ward,” he said.
“First of all, we don’t see color,” he wrote. “Gun rights don’t discriminate based on skin color and neither will we.”
“Our members don’t plan their walks based on skin color,” said Amad, “they plan them based on where they will be seen and be able to share our message with as many people as possible. Besides, what is a ‘black neighborhood’ or a ‘white neighborhood?”
Despite claiming not to see differences between “black” and “white” neighborhoods, Amad basically admitted to the Houston Press that holding the march in the Fifth Ward could have poor results. “If you go marching through the Fifth Ward like a bunch of stuffy old white boys carrying guns and spitting tobacco you’ll get a bad response,” Amad said. “But if you go in there talking to people like human beings and explain what you’re doing, the response will be different.”
The postponement comes on the heels of several stunts by Open Carry Texas, including the harassment of gunshot victims and veterans. Open Carry’s rallies have resulted in the CEO’s of several restaurant chains, including Sonic, Chili’s, and Chipotle, asking customers not to bring weapons into their stores. Even the NRA said the rallies had crossed the line into “downright foolishness,” before backtracking when Open Carry members threatened to sever ties.