State Troopers are being sued over several arrests they made related to the open carry movement. Gun rights activists say they want laws enforced, not abused. From toy guns, to antique replicas that's what led to each of their arrests. Arrests they say were not justified.
"They figured if they can't stop us because there's no law, they'll just tell us to leave. If we don't leave, now we're criminally trespassing. So once again DPS is creating laws out of thin air," says C.J. Grisham, part of lawsuit.
Between September 2013 and April of this year, eight men were arrested at The Texas Capitol. They banded together filing a lawsuit Monday on grounds of violations of our federal and state constitution. Those being sued are the Region VII DPS Troopers that arrested them individually and their supervisors.
"Our goal is to put a stop to police abuse of our rights. The legislature ironically passed open carry this session. We're going to be able to legally open carry actual modern handguns starting January 1st and yet, they've been arresting people for carrying rubber pieces of molding shaped like a gun," says Grisham.
The first arrest that really gained attention was from two years ago. Terry Holcomb says he was initially arrested for unlawful carry of a weapon but the charge was changed to disorderly conduct. That charge was dismissed.
What Holcomb doesn't understand is why he was targeted.
"We had permission to have the event. So we did not expect to face what we faced. They had officers everywhere that were initimidating us. I was certainly afraid. To say I wasn't would be foolish, I was scared," says Terry Holcomb, part of lawsuit.
There is video showing the 45 minute meeting Texas Open Carry had with DPS prior to the event.
A.J. Postell ended up with three broken ribs after his arrest in October of 2013. In that case, the Travis County Attorney's Office reportedly refused to formally file a criminal charge against him. Another controversial arrest was in November of 2013 involving C.J. Grisham. He had a toy gun in his holster and was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest. Both charges were dismissed.
Travis Kuenstler was arrested in February of this year; in his possession was a toy gun. He says most of these cases involve veterans.
"We consider the police and DPS as our brothers, although right now we're being targeted because we are doing exactly what we took an oath to do, and that's uphold the constitution," says Travis Kuenstler, part of lawsuit. Hoping their efforts can protect the rights of all citizens in Texas.
Those who filed the lawsuit say all but two of the charges have been dropped. Those two charges involve toy guns and are still pending a hearing.