The Texas state Republican convention could generate conflict between property rights and gun rights if those seeking more expansive open-carry legislation cross the threshold of the downtown Fort Worth Convention Center with their long guns.
City and state officials are reminding open-carry proponents that the public display of such guns is allowed by law, but not at businesses licensed to serve alcohol.
And because a local catering company is permitted to serve alcohol at the city-owned facility, the convention center qualifies as one of those businesses. Anyone caught possessing an unlicensed weapon on the premises could be cited for trespassing.
But the business could also face sanctions, like loss of its Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission permit.
The dueling priorities set up an interesting tension between two values equally dear to many Republicans: individual property rights and Second Amendment rights.
Fortunately, Chairman of the Texas GOP Steve Munisteri told Star-Telegram reporter Anna Tinsley that the party will abide by the state law on open-carry in the convention center. According to Facebook posts, he urged those in attendance not to take long guns into the convention hall.
Given the escalating debate over Open Carry’s tactics, we can’t be sure his words will resonate.
But even Kori Watkins of Open Carry Texas’ local chapter said he and other open-carry supporters will respect private-property rights and abide by the law.