Gun rights group's Houston plan draws controversy

HOUSTON – A Texas gun rights advocacy group plans to hold a walk Saturday in Houston's historically African-American Fifth Ward. Members of Open Carry Texas told Local 2 Investigates that they plan to walk through Fifth Ward neighborhoods to educate people on their Second Amendment rights.

"If they come with their weapons, I'm quite sure they'll be a lot of us with weapons also," said community activist Quannel X.

After hearing Quanell X's statements, Open Carry Texas member David Amad defended the group's decision to hold the event in the Fifth Ward and said the organization's motivations are being prematurely misjudged.

"We've done 2,000 of these walks that haven't been in Fifth Ward. It's not like we just decided, 'Hey, let's wave guns around and go to a black neighborhood and do it,'" said Amad.

Amad said the group's message is simply to educate all Americans about gun rights. He also said he's seen African-Americans treated differently than whites during similar events where people openly carry weapons in support of the Second Amendment.

"I don't need a brick to fall out of the sky to tell me that there's some kind of racism involved, and I don't like racism," said Amad.

Quanell X said he still does not trust the group's motivations.

"If this is about gun rights, we can educate our own people about gun rights," said Quanell X. "Coming like this is totally unacceptable. So if you do come, I guarantee you we will not bring a butter knife to a gun fight."

"Are you advocating violence or just simply a person-for-person match?" asked Local 2 Investigates.

"I'm advocating for them not to come, I'm advocating for them to stay home, to stay in their own community," said Quanell X. "We don't need somebody from the outside coming in with guns, who historically have not been friends of our community."

Amad said he was genuinely surprised by Quannel's words and told Local 2 he even agreed to meet with him and other community leaders Wednesday to go over the details of Saturday's event.

"I've talked to that man three times today and none of our conversations were confrontational like that," said Amad. "If he was going to say those things I wish he had said them to me."

Open Carry Texas has seen controversy before when members walked into restaurants and retail stores carrying so-called "long guns." However, Amad said the goal is not to stir debate, but to let people know the right to bear arms applies to everyone.

"The black community has got its butt kicked for quite some time. We're going there to help with that, to help put a stop to that. Why in the world wouldn't he want us to come?" said Amad.

Both sides are expected to meet Wednesday to discuss the details of Saturday's event. Amad and Quanell X said officials with the Houston Police Department have asked to monitor that meeting.