A day after state Rep. Alfonso “Poncho” Nevárez tried to make light of threats to safety, his colleagues in the Texas House rallied to his side in a demonstration of unity.
State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, organized the distribution 100 stickers that read “I’m Poncho.” They were worn by all shades of lawmaker, from state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, to state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin.
Though it appeared to be inspired by the “I’m Charlie” movement that sprang up following the attack by jihadists at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Springer said he didn’t consciously get the idea from the tragedy in Paris earlier this month.
Rather, he said he was reacting to a jocular statement by Nevárez who said Tuesday that he was going to give his friends and colleagues in the House signs that read “I’m not Poncho.”
Springer went on to say that he was offended to read Tuesday about threats made to Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, via email and social media for not supporting a constitutional carry bill state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, that would allow handguns — along with rifles and shotguns — to be carried openly at any time without a license. Nevárez became the focus of frustration by gun rights activists who visited the Capitol two weeks ago to push for a constitutional carry measure, which Nevárez said he would oppose. Read a report here about the dust-up between the gun rights folks and the representative.
“We should not let anyone threaten any of us,” Springer said. If you’re going to come after one of us, you’re going to have to come after all of us.”
Springer said he would support a measure allowing open carry — which differs from constitutional carry in that it would require a license and training to openly carry a handgun. Nevárez, who said that he also might support an open carry bill, said he was moved Springer’s gesture.
“It says a lot about the men and women who serve on this floor,” Nevárez said in an interview in a room adjacent to the chamber.
Nevárez added that he was impressed that his off-the-cuff comment about “I’m not Poncho” signs would turn into such a topic of discussion and show of solidarity in the Texas House.