Texas man arrested over toy gun at State Hearing

Austin, Texas — The Open Carry/Constitutional Carry issue in Texas has been a hot-button issue for a long time. When we received word of a new GoFundMe account for a defense fund for an arrest in February, we did some checking. On February 12, a member of Texas Open Carry,  Travis Kuenstler, 34, was arrested for Criminal Trespass just prior to a hearing on the issue,  after he attempted to bring a toy gun into the hearing. Travis is a US Marine veteran (1999-2002).

Travis Kuenstler is arrested by Texas DPS


Mr. Kuenstler was told that he could not take the plastic gun into the hearing room. When he questioned the legality of the statement, he was arrested for Criminal Trespass.

“The DPS troopers told him he couldn’t have that in here. He questioned what the legality of that is and when he asked for the law, the DPS trooper arrested him just for asking him what law he’s breaking… We’re now afraid of cap guns? What kind of society [have] we become?” Open Carry Texas founder, C.J. Grisham

This original is posted at Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

Open Carry advocates say they were told that could not bring any gun into the hearing, even if they had a lawfully obtained a concealed weapons permit.

“They are not allowing them inside the hearing today. They say they’re not allowing anything inside that even remotely resembles a gun, whether that be a toy or what have you.” Come and Take it Texas President Murdoch Pizgatti.

Just a few minutes later,  troopers said they were allowing concealed weapons into the hearing, but were rigidly refusing to allow toy guns. Their reasoning? Not enough manpower to check every gun to see if its real. But that’s not all that caused upset at the hearing.


A Mom’s Demand Action bodyguard allegedly tried to grab Mr. Grisham’s cellphone as he was attempting to video an interview with MDA members.

“He tried to grab my camera and when I jerked my camera back he grabbed my arm and tried to physically move me.”

No arrests were made in what would have normally been termed an assault.


I asked Mr. Kuenstler why he took the toy gun to the hearing in the first place. He said it was meant to be a “freedom of expression, 1st Amendment statement” to be used in conjunction with the committee testimony.

He told me that the Department of Public Safety in Texas is “legislating behind the badge.” For example:

“We don’t carry around black powder pistols just because we’re advocating violence,  we just want to expose the hypocrisy of what the DPS is doing. A black powder  pistol is not considered a gun under Texas law – yet the DPS arrests people for it. They are violating their own penal code…

There are 7-9 other cases similar to mine in Texas, where people were arrested for “Criminal trespass” on a freedom of speech issue. The DA usually ends up dismissing the charges after the process costs both sides a lot of money.” 

The opposition

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is deeply opposed to Open Carry. “There’s nothing to fix. Some of the folks that want open carry and constitutional carry, it’s because they’re not of the character or the mindset to get a concealed handgun license.” 

Now THAT is an inflammatory statement against Open Carry advocates – as if anyone who is for Open Carry is some sort of dangerous person who refuses to get a concealed carry license.

Some Texas officials are also opposed, citing the idea that their “grandchildren” would be “traumatized” by all the guns, and that people walking around with guns would be “intimidating.”

That’s news to the many other states that DO have open carry laws now. The only people who are “traumatized” in those states are the liberals who are traumatized by everything- hot dogs, lemonade stands, guns, tuna fish, soda pop…

A more balanced statement was issued by Jackson County Sheriff A.J. Louderback:

“If the will of the people speak and they want elective open carry in this state, then it’s law enforcement that’s going to have to change, modify their position, create the tactics and policy to handle that correctly.” 

Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. All of her posts on Conservative Firing Line are also posted on Uncle Sam's.

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