San Antonio, TX – On March 31, 2014, a member of Open Carry Texas was exercising his right to self defense while on a walk near his home in San Antonio. San Antonio Police Department officers from the West Substation responded to what they claim was an individual waving his rifle around and pointing it at people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After approaching and recognizing that Henry Vichique wasn’t a threat and that the call was a hoax, officers still attempted to disarm a law-abiding citizen walking home from a friend’s house. As officers were about to let Henry go about his business, another officer arrived on scene and decided to elevate the tension by tazing our member. Henry was then arrested for having a loaded firearm within city limits, a local ordinance that directly violates state pre-emption laws pertaining to firearms as contained in Local Government Code 229.001(a)(1), which states: “a municipality may not adopt regulations relating to…the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing, or registration of firearms, air guns, ammunition, or firearm.”
Mr. Vichique was charged under San Antonio Ordinance Section 21-16, Carrying loaded rifle or shotgun. The ordinance reads, “It shall be unlawful for any person, other than duly authorized peace officers, to carry a loaded rifle or shotgun on any public street within the city or in a motor vehicle while the same is being operated on any public street within the city.” Open Carry Texas maintains, and has maintained since this issue was first brought to our attention last year, that this ordinance is unenforceable and void due to the Texas pre-emption laws as stated above.
Open Carry Texas strongly objects to the abuses suffered at the hands of San Antonio Police Department officers against a law-abiding citizen exercising his right to keep and bear arms. Once again, the SAPD has shown that their force lacks in training, experience, common sense, and a basic understanding of Texas law and rights afforded to Texans by virtue of our state and federal constitutions. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but that seems to be the rule of the day in SAPD.
We are planning a rally in support of Mr. Vichique on Sunday, April 6, 2014, at 2pm at the San Antonio Police Department – West Substation (7000 Culebra Rd, San Antonio, TX) in protest of this deplorable conduct by SAPD officers. An unedited video of the encounter can be found here:
I contacted the West Station Internal Affairs to register a complaint at 210.207.7365. It is important that these police departments train their officers and the 911 dispatchers on how to handle these calls. Support Open Carry Texas who are defending your rights to self-defense and the 2nd Amendment.