Open Carry Rifles & Cop Watching-Most Dangerous Convergence This Week
Watkins, a bartender by day, is the coordinator for Open Carry Tarrant County, a hybrid of the cop-watching and open carry movements. The small band of gun-toting Texans warns motorists of DUI checkpoints and speed traps. They also show up at police traffic stops, record the proceedings - including any confrontations with officers - and post the videos on social media.
“More now than ever, we need police accountability,” said Watkins, a father of two. “We need people out there reporting, because it’s not just here in our area; it’s all over the country.”
As the group sees it, police are agents of the government and openly carrying guns is a statement of individual liberty. For Open Carry Tarrant County’s members, monitoring cops and expanding gun rights are missions that go hand-in-hand. In Texas, it’s legal to openly carry a long gun like an assault rifle, but not handguns.
“I feel violated,” Watkins said about the handgun rule. “I think people have just forgotten about what we’re supposed to be about here in America: liberty, freedom, the land of the free, the home of the brave. And it’s not that anymore.”