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Port Arthur police chief warns pro-gun group not to scare his c - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Port Arthur police chief warns pro-gun rights group not to scare his citizens

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PORT ARTHUR -

Proudly marching with rifles strapped to their backs, a group calling itself "Come And Take It America" has become a common sight in Southeast Texas on weekends the past couple of months.

Its members and other supporters have held demonstrations for their right to openly carry longarms in Beaumont and Orange.

But their plans to complete all sides of the Golden Triangle might have hit a road block.

The group contacted the Port Arthur police department about wanting to rally in the city.

They've been holding demonstrations in Southeast Texas since Derek Poe was charged with disorderly conduct after carrying an AR-15 through Parkdale Mall in Beaumont last December.

So far the rallies held in our area have been peaceful and participants carry unloaded guns, but still Port Arthur Police Chief Mark Blanton says the potential for violence is there.

Blanton said, "I'm a firm believer in the Second Amendment, but I'm not going to have my citizens scared, that's what going to happen when you walk around with a longbarrel firearm on your back or in your arms in this day of random shootings at malls and schools."

Deputy Chief Dennis Odom adds that the more these demonstrations become more frequent, the public will grow complacent thinking everyone carrying a rifle is just an open carry supporter or demonstrator, when he really might be a bad guy, and Odom says people won't call police.

Chief Blanton says he'll definitely respect the group's civil rights, but he says safety will be his priority.

He told us, "I think you're going to have a police presence to not have a panic, I have great concern someone with concealed weapon permit may produce their weapon, cause they're fearful of what someone else is going to do."

In response to Blanton's warning, Jason Orsek, with "Come And Take It America" posted on the 12News Facebook, ""Yawn...It's stances like this that bring hundreds of open carry activists to an area... Congrats Chief...you have raised the eyebrow of www.catitx.com  You own it"

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