Some changes came quickly Thursday after a right-to-carry protest and arrests that included CJ Grisham of Temple.
Until Thursday morning, the city of Olmos Park had an ordinance (Sec. 24.85) that contradicted state law because it stated it was unlawful for anyone other than an authorized peace officer to carry a loaded rifle or shotgun on a public street in the city. Section 24.86 of the ordinance said any person, firm or corporation violating the article was guilty of a misdemeanor.
It’s a state law that residents can carry loaded long rifles in Texas without a license. It’s been legal to open carry a handgun with a license since Jan. 1, 2016.
The ordinance was repealed during a 9 a.m. special meeting of the Olmos Park City Council Thursday morning. The Council met in executive session with its attorney to discuss a possible legal challenge to a city ordinance and options on how to proceed. The Council left executive session just after 10:15 a.m., reconvened into open session and announced its decision.
Olmos Park City Manager Celia DeLeon confirmed the ordinance was rescinded by a unanimous vote, but had no further comments, she said Thursday in an email to the Temple Daily Telegram. Olmos Park Police Chief Rene Valenciano was at the meeting as well.
Phone calls and emails made Wednesday and Thursday to Valenciano were not returned by press time.
Arrests, gun rights claims
Although there was a lot of talk and supposition among gun rights supporters, Olmos Park city officials have been quiet since Tuesday’s arrests of Open Carry Texas founder Grisham, Jim Everard and Joanna Castro.
The Thursday meeting was the first visible action from the city in connection with the arrests.
On Wednesday, Olmos Park police charged Grisham with assault of a peace officer, a second-degree felony, and misdemeanors including interfering with the duties of a public servant, obstruction of a passageway and resisting arrest. Grisham and other Open Carry supporters were demonstrating when Olmos Park officers ordered Grisham to get on the ground, rushed him, tased and took him into custody.
Grisham was released at Wednesday afternoon after posting bonds that totaled $13,000.
He is scheduled to appear May 17 in the 290th District Court of Bexar County, according to the district clerk’s office.
Grisham told the Telegram Thursday afternoon, this “is a much more serious issue than any other I’ve been involved in and will greatly control the amount of information I put out.”
Grisham referred further requests for comments to his attorney, JL Carpenter, national spokeswoman for the Self Defense Fund and Grisham’s criminal defense attorney.
His wife, Emily Grisham, said Wednesday he had a concussion and a contusion on the back of his head from when he was tased in the back. Olmos Park officers reportedly dragged him because he was disoriented, confused and couldn’t walk. Grisham told his wife he was refused medical care on more than one occasion.
Legal gun defense
The National Association for Legal Gun Defense (SelfDefenseFund.com) maintains the Olmos Park Police Department falsely arrested Grisham. The Tuesday event was described on Twitter as the “Olmos Park Forced Education and Compliance Rally.”
“SelfDefenseFund.com will litigate this case to the fullest and hold those accountable for their violations of our member’s civil rights,” the organization said in a statement.
The group is supporting its members in another planned First and Second amendment rally on Saturday, April 7, at the Olmos Park Police Department.
“We ask the Olmos Park Police Chief Rene Valenciano to publicly apologize to Texans and to retrain his officers concerning the lawful carrying of firearms in Texas in Olmos Park,” the Self Defense Fund said Wednesday.
“Our members are armed and attorney-protected and, if their civil rights are violated, it is going to be costly,” Andy Valadez, marketing director of the Self Defense Fund, said.