The MYTH of pro-gun TEXAS?! by Teresa Beckmeyer
I attended the trial of Michael Keoughan yesterday in Andrews, Texas and wanted to pass along what I observed. This is the first trial of this type to actually go to court. Seventeen similar charges pressed against other individuals across the state, have been dropped.
Let me give some background on the case. Michael Keoughan is part of the Open Carry movement in Texas. For those of you not familiar with this, it is an organization across the state that participates in the public display of weapons that are legal to display/carry openly, among those weapons being shotguns and pre-1899 black powder pistols. Their purpose is to educate others about the laws of our state in regards to the open carry of weapons. The week before, the defendant and another man had met with the sheriff and police chief about the group having a parade in Andrews. They had filled out the necessary paperwork which includes mapping out the route on paper. On the day in question, Michael had gone to Andrews to make sure that the route had areas along the way in which participants that were elderly or for those who had baby strollers to turn around, stop or whatever–to accomodate them. One this day we was openly carrying a shotgun across his back and a holstered pre-1899 black powder pistol.
Out of the hundreds of cars that passed Mr. Keoughan, only 6 called 911 and reported him and they all said the same exact thing in a calm manner: There is a man walking down the street carrying a gun on his back. Because Mr. Keoughan was doing nothing illegal, the officers had to grasp at straws in trying to find something to charge him with and they settled on the following:
“DISORDERLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly…(8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.” Their whole case was based on trying to prove that Michael carried a weapon in a public place in a manner that was CALCULATED to alarm others.
To put it simply, the state had to prove that Mr. Keoughan, got up that day, strapped on his weapon, and thought, “I’m going to Andrews to scare people” on purpose.
From the beginning it was evident that the DA had a very weak case against the defendant and as the trial proceeded, it became more and more apparent. Law enforcement was very illiterate, for lack of a better term, about the Texas Penal Code in reference to asking for identification and about the disorderly conduct statute. The State tried to base their case on citizen’s reactions, his clothing, where he came from, where he was walking (within two blocks of a school) and other circumstances to say that this constituted a calculated manner to cause alarm while carrying a firearm. If the jury would have found him guilty, I would have completely lost all hope in humanity as the lack of evidence was so glaring that a child could have made the right decision.
In regards to the identification law in Texas, everyone needs to be aware of what this law says.
FAILURE TO IDENTIFY. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information. (b) A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has: (1) lawfully arrested the person; (2) lawfully detained the person; or (3) requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense.
If I’m not mistaken, this law is what keeps us from having unconstitutional checkpoints. Just wanted to make you all aware of this if you weren’t already.
The thing about the day that needs to be the biggest eye opener for all of us is this. It took 4 hours to pick 6 people out of a pool of about 50-60 people. From observers in the room, the biggest hurdle that they had in picking people was trying to find ones who actually believed in the 2nd amendment. Yes, that is right. In the west Texas town of Andrews, Texas, they had a hard time finding people who believed in the one of the most basic of our freedoms. This tells me that I need to work harder at educating my children, my family and all that I come into contact with about how important the 2nd amendment is and why it is needed. Let this spur all of us on to making this a priority.