After online moderator Ricky Minton started posting comments, about two weeks ago, concerning Councilman Mitchell Jordan's record, Minton received threats of bodily harm. He then announced he would start packing for protection.
Minton sent a letter to Palestine City Manager Michael Hornes and Police Chief Andy Harvey, stating he would bring a firearm to council meetings.
City Manager Michael Hornes said Minton, or anyone else, is permitted to carry a gun at Council meetings.
“It's currently allowed because we haven't passed an ordinance disallowing it,” Hornes said. “There would (need to) be a sign in English and Spanish posted. It would need to come through an ordinance by council.”
If business owners decide to prohibit handguns on their premises, they need to post a sign at the door, stating guns are not allowed inside.
It is illegal to enter bars, hospitals, or nursing homes with a gun. Those places, however, still must display, at entranceways, a sign in English and Spanish, stating it is unlawful to carry a handgun on the premises.
A new state law requires the handgun to be concealed. Since the law requires licensed holders to conceal their handguns, the only way to enforce a policy prohibiting guns is to search everyone entering the building.
Harvey said he sees potential problems with people carrying guns into certain places, such as council meetings, but added he understands the Second Amendment.
“At the end of the day, everyone is unpredictable,” he said. Harvey, who came to Palestine from the Dallas Police Department, said Dallas prohibited people from carrying guns in council chambers.
Minton said he sent the letter to the two city leaders because he did not want police to arrest him, if they mistakenly thought he was breaking the law.
He said threats erupted after he reported on the website he moderates Jordan's past misdemeanors and tax delinquency.
Minton said he does not blame Jordan for the threats, as the councilman cannot control what other people do or post.
“It's not his fault,” Minton said. “This issue is not about me. It's about the rights of people. I want them to understand the law.”
Minton, who calls himself an investigative journalist, maintains he had the right to try to question Jordan about past activities — some dating back to 2005.
Minton also said, while he never expected anyone to try to harm him, the climate of the country has changed. He cited the recent church shooting near San Antonio.
“There are people who are crazy,” he said.
Jordan, when reached Thursday, told the Herald-Press he would talk to the newspaper later about the matter.