Political gun fight with House Speaker Bonnen reloads

Chris McNutt, legal advisor Jessie Binnall, and president of a national organization for gun rights Dudley Brown stood together Tuesday to issue a demand to House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

"We want an apology, and a retraction from the Speaker,” said Brown.

Their political gun fight with the Texas Speaker of the House escalated back in March. Edited Texas DPS body cam video, released by McNutt's organization, shows state troopers encountering him after he drove up to Bonnen's Lake Jackson home. McNutt says he was there to lobby for constitutional carry legislation and claims he was armed only with political flyers.

On the video he is heard saying to the troopers: "I did want to leave one of these on his house just that he knows that we are out here ... to show him a message."

The video, according to McNutt, proves he was not threatening. 

"When I was in the Speaker's neighborhood canvassing several houses I saw DPS troopers parked out in front of his house, so I actually approached them," said McNutt. "I wasn't intercepted, detained, arrested or anything, I approached them. And told them what I was doing and they actually offered to place the flyer on the Speaker's door for me, so I never stepped foot on the Speaker's property."

Speaker Dennis Bonnen was in Austin in the Capitol at the time of McNutt's visit, but his family was home. McNutt claims he was doing legal political canvassing and denies that he brandished a firearm in front of legislative staff members. The gun advocates are now looking into whether or not the Speaker misused state resources by having troopers posted at his house.

"Why did he put those officers there, was he trying to manufacture a situation, we think so,” said Brown.

Troopers were reportedly posted at the Speaker's home after McNutt had earlier been in the neighborhoods of other state lawmakers. Those trips were described by several House members as a form of political intimidation.

A short statement from Bonnen's press secretary Cait Meisenheimer was sent Tuesday. It reads: "It appears someone has forgotten the law of holes. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

That comment is an apparent reference to how this political gun fight continued at the JW Marriott earlier this month. It happened during a GOP fundraising event where Bonnen and McNutt had a brief but intense exchange about his trip to Lake Jackson. 

The gun advocates said Tuesday they are not backing down. They also want the Speaker to allow the constitutional carry legislation to have a committee hearing and after that they want a full vote on the House floor.

The Speaker has already declared the legislation dead for the Session.