Tyler Open Carry March draws support, one protester

Tyler Open Carry March draws support, one protester

TYLER (KYTX) - In recognition of independence day, dozens gathered in downtown Tyler on the square for a reading of the constitution and an open carry march.

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains why participants say the fourth of July is about recognizing the rights and freedoms that comes with being an American.

This is the second year, Tyer Open Carry has organized an open carry march in downtown, and just like last year, the Smith County Republic Party partnered with the group by organizing a reading of the constitution.

In years past, Tyler open carry organized events have been virtually protest free, however this year, a lone protester shook things up a bit.

Patriotic period uniformed men stand at attention in honor of America's independence. These rifle totting men, women and children are participating in the second Tyler Open Carry march.

Dr. James Karolchez's was the lone protester. His protest, somewhat overshadowed the day's events.

"A vietnam vet tore up my sign up cause he din't agree with my protest and that's when i had to speak out and start yelling."

The open carry yearly event began with a reading of the Declaration of Independence by the Smith County Republican Party.

But before the march began, things changed..

"I respect his right to do that, I wish he would have respected ours more to do that," said Tyler Open Carry Founder Stephen Lee.

In recent days, the open carry debate has gotten some negative attention after a group of people carried guns through target.. Gun safety expert Reagan Cole says, open carrying isn't the problem, it's the often disregard of safety.

"What I'm really tired of seeing is the safety issue people walking around with fire arms not on safe."

Despite the echo of protest in the background, dozens peacefully continued the march.

"I'm just here speaking my mind, it's my first amendment right," Karolchez said.

"We're glad to exercise those rights," said Lee.

Rights they say, are even better expressed on america's day of independence.


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