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Parkdale enforces policy after man carries assault rifle inside - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

UPDATE: Store owner moving out of mall after being charged with disorderly conduct

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UPDATE: The Parkdale Mall store owner who was charged with disorderly conduct after walking through the mall with a rifle strapped to his back is moving his store out.

Derek Poe has said he does not want to be in a place where he does not feel safe.

The mall has placed signs up reminding customers that it will be enforcing its policy of banning weapons.

Poe was arrested on a statute that makes it a crime to carry a weapon, "in a manner calculated to alarm."

36th Congressional district candidate Dave Norman has expressed support for Poe Friday, saying, "The fact is, we don't get to choose where a violent crime will occur... Firearms in the hands of the good guys levels the playing field..."

Norman criticized the mall for creating what he called a "criminal safety zone."

Parkdale Mall has put up signs reminding customers that it is against policy to carry concealed handguns inside the mall.

This comes after Derek Poe, owner of Golden Triangle Tactical, was stopped by police on Dec. 28 for carrying his rifle slouched down his back. He was later charged with disorderly conduct after police say several witnesses claimed they were scared for their lives.

Poe told 12News at the time that he was exercising his Second Amendment right to open carry.

The new signs were put up this week saying, "No guns are allowed on mall property."

There is one at the front entrance and signs at each driveway entering the parking lot.

Under Parkdale Mall's Code of Conduct, it is against policy to carry or display weapons of any kind except those carried by certified law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties.

"Parkdale Mall's policy is for us to leave our guns in our cars. Well, that doesn't make any sense. Now, you want us to leave my gun unattended in a vehicle? It's better off on me," said John Troquille, owner of Onpoint CHL, a business that offers firearm classes.

While Troquille doesn't agree with Poe's actions that day he displayed the AR-15, he also doesn't agree that the mall is enforcing its rule.

"They're taking away our ability to protect our families. As a dad, I'm the first responder for my kids," he said.

A spokesperson for the mall told 12News that it's clarifying its existing policy by placing the signs around the facility.

Troquille says he knows mall employees who will now look elsewhere for work.

"They don't want to be made to be a victim. They want to have the right to protect themselves," he said.

He also told 12News that he also knows customers who will look elsewhere to shop.

"There's 760,000 CHL carriers in the state of Texas. We'll just take our business somewhere else," he said.

The question has risen as to whether or not Poe's business will remain open at Parkdale Mall since gear is sold there. The mall couldn't comment on the store's contract but Poe said he has not been contacted by Parkdale Mall.

The Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America says it supports the disorderly conduct charge and is also calling for CBL properties, the parent company of Parkdale Mall, to immediately revoke Poe's store lease.

Poe is one of the organizers of a planned open carry freedom walk that is scheduled for January 18 at Gander Mountain. Beaumont police have offered to assist with the rally to ensure those who attend can exercise their rights in a safe manner.

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