Armed march through downtown Tyler planned for July 4th - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Armed march through downtown Tyler planned for July 4th


A group of East Texans is organizing an attention-grabbing march for this 4th of July.

They plan to march through downtown Tyler visibly armed, but they want to stress that their purpose is peaceful. Adam Kirby and Matthew Thiessen say there's no better time than the 4th of July to celebrate the rights of the American people. This year, they've found a unique way.

"What better way to celebrate the independence of our nation, where the founders sacrificed everything to ensure that we had the freedom to determine our own destiny, than to exercise those rights publicly," says Kirby.

At 10 a.m. next Thursday, people carrying rifles and shotguns will march around the downtown square, but the demonstration doesn't start or end there. They'll meet near Tyler city hall at 212 N. Border Avenue, then march around the square, to Beckham, to Front Street and then south on Broadway. The march will end at Bergfeld park.

"We're not doing this to cause alarm. We're doing this basically to educate the public," says Thiessen.

The Texas Penal Code says individuals cannot carry a handgun out in public in plain view, but the law doesn't say anything specific about carrying long guns like rifles or shotguns in public. Therefore, as long as the weapon is not being carried in an alarming manner, it's considered legal.

"Everybody that comes is encouraged to carry a long rifle. They'll be pointed down, strapped over the shoulder in a non-threatening manner," says Thiessen.

The event organizers studied another open-carry rally in Texas before organizing their own. They say the event isn't about guns, it's about freedoms.

"The whole purpose of this is to encourage people to exercise those rights so that we have them for our children and our grandchildren," says Thiessen.

The organizers of the event say they're inviting all East Texans and law enforcement officers, including the Smith County Sheriff. Before the event begins, the Declaration of Independence will be read on the courthouse steps at 9 a.m.

For more information about the event, visit the event's Facebook page HERE.

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