“Things just got a little more interesting on the 13th,” an organizer wrote on the group’s Facebook page.
Invented by Austin-based gun rights activist Cody Wilson, the Ghost Gunner can currently manufacture a pistol known as the Liberator, the world’s first 3-D printable firearm, as well as the lower receiver of an AR-15. Wilson’s nonprofit, Defense Distributed, sells the machine for about $1,500.
The rally, held in support of a bill filed by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, is part of a push to scrap the state’s handgun licensing requirements during the upcoming legislative session. Stickland did not immediately return a request for comment.
A divide exists among gun rights supporters over the use of armed rallies to raise awareness for their cause. Some view the tactic — which has featured protesters carrying weapons such as assault rifles in city streets — as overly aggressive. The possible 3-D printing of firearms at such a rally has added another layer of controversy.
At a second rally planned for later in the month by Open Carry Texas, participants will be carrying empty holsters instead of firearms. The group’s founder, CJ Grisham, said Tuesday that he had reached out to the January 13 event’s organizers to ask them not to use the Ghost Gunner at the Capitol.
“I don’t understand the purpose of it,” Grisham said. “It seems confrontational, and really, needless. I mean it’s the first day of the Legislature, we are this close to getting open carry passed, and now these guys want to come and manufacture a firearm on the steps of the Capitol? I just don’t get it.”
Come and Take It Texas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Texas, which allows the public display of long guns like rifles and shotguns, legalized the concealed carrying of handguns with a license in 1995. It is one of six states that specifically prohibit the unconcealed display of handguns, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Stickland’s measure is among several from lawmakers targeting handgun restrictions, but it is the only one so far that proposes lifting licensing requirements altogether.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/01/06/gun-rights-advocates-build-weapons-capitol/.