Hundreds of gun-rights advocates, many with rifles and shotguns, gathered early Saturday at the Alamo in San Antonio to rally in support of gun ownership and the right to bear arms.
The rally, called "Come and Take It San Antonio," comes in response to what organizers called San Antonio police's "disregard for Texas law and The Constitution."
The day's keynote speaker, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, is a Republican candidate for the lieutenant governor and an avid gun-rights advocate.
Patterson told NBC News that the rally was about the right of Texans to openly carry their pistols.
According to Texas law, gun owners cannot openly carry handguns, but there is no such law prohibiting the carrying of long guns. San Antonio police have recently made arrests of people carrying long guns, citing a more restrictive city ordinance banning weapons in public places.
“The premise is that someone who is openly carrying a handgun is not a criminal,” he said, adding that “criminals tend to be discrete” when carrying a hand gun.
Patterson said he supports a person openly carrying a hand gun in most environments, excluding a bar.
He said a bar is “one of the few prohibitive locations that might make some sense.”
Victoria Montgomery, public relations manager with Open Carry Texas, told NBC News that Saturday’s rally was about “people who want to be free” and about the right to openly carry arms of all sizes.
“People are starting to wake up – they have rights,” she said.