The outspoken leader of an open carry gun group denied Wednesday that he was threatening Texas lawmakers when he called the restriction of citizens’ gun rights “treason” that is “punishable by death” under the Constitution.
In a video that was removed from Facebook but uploaded to YouTube by a user named “CoCo Mars,” Open Carry Tarrant County leader Kory Watkins ranted about the need to implement “Constitutional Carry,” or the legal carrying of a handgun without a government permit.
“I don’t know if they forgot what their duty is, but it’s to protect the Constitution. And let me remind you, going against the Constitution is treason,” Watkins said on the video. “And, my friend, that is punishable by death. That’s how serious this is.”
“They better start giving us our rights or this peaceful non-cooperation stuff is going to be gamed up. We’re going to step it up a notch,” he added. “We should be demanding these people give us our rights back, or it’s punishable by death.”
Watkins said later Wednesday in a Facebook post that he took down the video because he thought people would misinterpret his message: that he “simply wished to point out the seriousness of the constitution.”
“Let me make it clear and unequivocal: I was not talking about hurting legislators, or anyone else. I am an advocate of peaceful non-cooperation,” Watkins wrote. “When I speak of ‘stepping it up a notch’ mean within the boundaries of ‘peaceful non-cooperation.’ Instead of just a foot in the door. perhaps we need ‘sit ins’ chanting ‘hell no we won’t go.'”
The “foot in the door,” which Watkins also repeated in the video, appeared to be a reference to an incident involving Open Carry Tarrant County that took place last month in state Rep. Poncho Nevarez’s (D) office.
Watkins had filmed himself and other activists confronting Nevarez after the lawmaker said he wouldn’t support an open carry bill. When Nevarez tried to usher the activists out of his office and close the door, one man stuck his foot in the door and challenged Nevarez, saying “What are you gonna do?”
Following that incident, the state House passed a rule allowing its members to install panic buttons in their offices for when members of the public become hostile.
Watkins’ latest video was no longer available on YouTube as of Thursday morning. The video was replaced with a message that read “this video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Kory Watkins.”
Read Watkins’ full Facebook post below: