If you were driving south on Green Oaks Boulevard in Arlington on Thursday around 7 p.m., your headlights might have caught a glimpse of a group of people walking along the sidewalk carrying what looked like rifles and shotguns over their shoulders. No, the fading dusk wasn't messing with your vision. Yes, those were really long guns slung across their backs.
A group called Open Carry Texas was expressing their Second Amendment right with a group of about 20, including two preschoolers. They walked from an Albertson's parking lot, up north for a bit (a mile or so), then back south, past a church where an officer in a cop car was keeping an eye on things.
Cars honked and some folks hung out their windows and hollered in support. The marchers hollered back. When asked for a photograph, they couldn't have been nicer and waved for the camera like queens on a float. The walk continued to a Starbucks, where only one of the marchers went in and the others stayed outside. Eventually they all posed for a group picture in front of Starbucks, then carried on.
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As we reported this summer, Starbucks had a loose policy on guns in their stores, but when gun enthusiasts learned it was gun-friendly, they pounced. Soon, the company retracted.
Founder and CEO Howard Schultz released a letter in September asking advocates to stand down, although the company didn't technically change its policy, which follows local laws.
Schultz wrote that his stores have been disingenuously portrayed as a champion of open carry: "To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners."
Gun advocates, it turns out, aren't big on memos.