Gun Rights Activist Says Lawmakers "Punishable by Death"

Open carry advocate threatens legislators in video

In the news again, gun-rights activist Kory Watkins recorded a threatening YouTube video, pressuring Texas lawmakers to pass lax gun laws, including open carry without licensing requirements.

In the four-minute rambling video – removed from his Facebook page 30 minutes after posting yet preserved on YouTube – Watkins, leader of Open Carry Tarrant County, says the decision not to grant gun rights activists their legislative demands is tantamount to treason and “punishable by death.”

“I’m tired of jacking around. I’m tired of playing politically correct games. I’m tired of saying, ‘well, this is chess, and we gotta take this slowly’,” said Watkins. “I don’t know if [Texas lawmakers] forgot what their duty is, but it’s to protect the Constitution. And let me remind you, going against the Constitution is treason, and, my friend, that is punishable by death.” He goes on to say gun rights advocates are, “not playing around,” anymore and are ready to “game up” their “peaceful non-cooperation” strategy. “We’re gonna step it up a notch,” said Watkins.

The chilling monologue ends with a thinly veiled threat: “I want to put more than my foot in that door. We should be doing way more than that. We should be demanding these people give us our rights back, or it’s punishable by death. Treason. Do you understand how serious this is, Texas? We need to start sticking more than foots in doors. This is treason against the American people. You don’t sell my rights back to me, you’re gonna find trouble.”

Watkins, along with other open carry activists, recently caused an uproar while aggressively confronting Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, at his Capitol office. As a result of the heated incident, representatives now have panic buttons in their offices and Nevárez is protected by a security detail. The video comes shortly after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick moved two pieces of gun-rights legislation to the State Affairs committee – a “Constitutional carry” bill by Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, allowing for open carry and a bill by Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, that would require background checks (albeit, weak ones) for open carry – making his message all the more bizarre.

Now it may be up to the Texas Department of Public Safety to determine if Watkins’ words reach the level of a terroristic threat, which includes “plac[ing] the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury.” Calls to the department were not immediately returned.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Gun Control
Abbott Issues “Safety Action Report” on Gun Violence
Abbott's Gun Violence Report
Recommendations long on surveillance, short on gun restrictions

Michael King, Sept. 16, 2019

Real Guns, Cardboard Guns in Texas Schools
Real Guns, Cardboard Guns in Texas Schools
Firearms groups plan "murder-in" as gun man hides at St. Ed's

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 9, 2015

More open carry
News Roundup: Storms, Season's Greetings, and Open Carry
News Roundup
Reminder: Open carry law takes effect Jan. 1

the News Staff, Dec. 29, 2015

More by Mary Tuma
Abortion Care Providers “Heartened” After SB 8 Hearing at SCOTUS
Abortion Care Providers “Heartened” After SB 8 Hearing at SCOTUS
Oral arguments focus on law’s vigilante enforcement

Nov. 5, 2021

Abortion Care Providers “Heartened” After SB 8 Hearing at SCOTUS
Abortion Care Providers “Heartened” After SB 8 Hearing at SCOTUS
Oral arguments focus on law’s vigilante enforcement

Nov. 1, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Gun Control, 84th Legislature, Gun rights, open carry, Texas Legislature 2015

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle