Earlier this month, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen made waves by declaring constitutional carry legislation “dead” after alleging that a gun rights activist attempted to visit his home in a threatening manner while he was away.
Now new body-cam footage obtained from the Department of Public Safety puts more context on the incident and appears to contradict much of the narrative surrounding the story.
Initial reports of the incident, carried in several major newspapers across the state, claimed Chris McNutt, the executive director for Texas Gun Rights, used “intimidation tactics” to bully several lawmakers into supporting constitutional carry—Republican Party priority legislation that would allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms openly or concealed without first obtaining a license or permit.
Though many deduced early in the session that the legislation was unlikely to pass when it was sent to a House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, led by Democrat State Rep. Poncho Nevarez (Eagle Pass), House leadership capitalized on news reports of the McNutt encounter to officially kill the bill this session.
“I think it’s incumbent upon me not to reward bad behavior or make them believe that somehow this harassment led to me giving them a hearing,” Nevarez told one newspaper following the news.
News accounts claimed that McNutt had tried to visit Bonnen’s home, while he was out of town and only his wife and children were present, wearing a t-shirt with an “assault rifle” on it (the group’s logo features an AR-15) and was “intercepted” by DPS troopers stationed outside his house.
However, body-cam video from the DPS posted by gun rights activist CJ Grisham shows a polite and deferential McNutt block walking the neighborhood before initiating contact with the officers to respectfully explain the issue of constitutional carry and his purpose for being in the neighborhood.
“I didn’t want to just go walking up there,” McNutt told the officers. “That’s why I wanted to talk to you, so, like, that way I don’t send up any alarms.”
The troopers present offered to place one of McNutt’s fliers on Bonnen’s door and also took one for themselves so they could learn more about the issue, as well.
Former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi took to social media to say of the video, “The police body-cam footage shows Chris McNutt as a perfect gentleman, just as every single person who has ever met Chris expected.”
The full video, with Grisham’s commentary, is available here: