HOUSTON -- Rumors are flying about the Open Carry Texas gun rights group marching through Houston's Fifth Ward community Saturday with shotguns and rifles.
However, the group's Houston representative said the event has, in fact, been called off. Some activists said if Open Carry does show up, the community will be ready for them.
Sparks flew when community activists met with Open Carry Texas representatives Wednesday night in Fifth Ward. A sit down, outdoor meeting quickly turned into a shouting match.
At that time, Open Carry seemed determined to conduct its Fifth Ward rally Saturday, but surprisingly called it off on Thursday. The group's Houston representative, David Amad, told KHOU 11 News the group has decided to try to do a joint march with the community at a future date.
He called the Wednesday meeting a "three ring circus." Amad said Open Carry will now talk to "real Fifth Ward leaders who are reasonable and level-headed." He specifically took aim at community advocate Quanell X who fired back that if Open Carry shows up, he will be there to meet them.
"At the end of the day we are forced to defend and protect the best interests of our community, therefore on Saturday we will be here to deal with Open Carry Texas," Quanell X said.
Open Carry leaders said they want to educate residents that they have the right to openly carry long guns. Some Fifth Ward residents showed up with rifles at the Wednesday meeting. Open Carry leaders said being visibly armed will deter crime.
"No one mugs a guy carrying a gun," Amad said.
But Fifth Ward residents said Open Carry's argument doesn't hold water.
"It's always somebody with a bigger gun, better gun than yours so just because you got one, isn't going to stop nobody else," Fifth Ward resident Jonathan Lincoln said.
Other residents agreed.
"It's promoting violence to me," resident Veronica Lewis said. "Gun-on-gun action is never good."
"Yeah, that's not a good idea. That opens up opportunity for confrontation." Resident Alex Reyna, Jr. said.
Fifth Ward activist Kathy Blueford-Daniels said if Open Carry wants to help her community, it can focus on other issues.
"They could help form a coalition to get stores. It's a food desert out there in Fifth Ward. We need jobs," she said.
Ultimately Open Carry leaders said they want to change the law so that people can walk down the street with a handgun visible.
Currently that is legal only for shotguns and rifles. However residents of Fifth Ward told KHOU 11 News that Open Carry should take their mission and their message somewhere else.