ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – An open carry gun rights group is asking a judge to temporarily suspend enforcement of a law preventing people from handing out flyers to people driving by in busy intersections. Open Carry Tarrant County claimed the law is unconstitutional and rewritten to target them. Arlington claims it is a law for public safety.
Roadside protests draw attention. But open carry demonstrations make some people more than a little nervous since most of the demonstrators are legally brandishing rifles on the side of the road.
“Something could get on their nerves or they could just get angry,” said Lisa Broussard who works in Arlington. “I just don’t want a gun in front of me.”
Open carry advocates say because of their firearms, Arlington is preventing them from doing this — handing out copies of the constitution at busy intersections.
The group is asking a judge to stop the city from enforcing the law until a lawsuit against the city goes to court.
“The city in its paper work argues this has nothing to do with open carry, which is a farce,” said Warren Norred, attorney for Open Carry.
In May, the City of Arlington upgraded an old ordinance banning solicitation in many of the city’s intersections.
The law prevents distractions to drivers and dangers to pedestrians.
The ordinance stated people can’t sell services or merchandise or exchange items with people in cars.
The city also defined some words like service, which now means, “any work done to benefit another person and merchandise as any property of any kind.”
Open Carry argues the changes were done to target them.
Arlington’s attorney declined an interview but the city attorney, Robert Fugate, told the judge, “This isn’t about their views its about public safety.”
But Open Carry says the city’s motive was clear when they questioned Tarrant County’s Open Carry organizer in court.
“He was asked questions about is the gun loaded?” Norred said. “How is that relevant to the distribution of literature and public safety? What kind of gun was it? How is that relevant? None of that is relevant.”
A federal judge is reviewing the arguments and will decide whether or not to grant the injunction.
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