Texas Gun Rights Director Demands Apology From House Speaker Bonnen

Chris Fox
April 24, 2019 - 11:38 am
Texas State Capitol

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Back in late March, officers from the Department of Public Safety intercepted Texas Gun Rights Director Chris McNutt out in front of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s Lake Jackson home. McNutt was canvasing the neighborhood leaving constitutional carry fliers on doors.

At the time Bonnen was in Austin presiding over the Texas House, but his son was home alone. Bonnen called McNutt’s move a gutless attempt to intimidate him into supporting the constitutional carry legislation. Bonnen and other lawmakers then vowed to kill the bill.

On Tuesday McNutt was joined by Virginia Attorney Jesse Binnall, who represents Texas Gun Rights, and Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights at a press conference to set the record straight. Brown said, “The impression we get from the Speaker of the House is that somehow he (McNutt) was there to threaten people. That’s not the case. Some in politics might understand that you actually have to walk door-to-door and canvas and deliver information to voters to get some action to happen here in Austin.” 

The three also cited recently released DPS footage of the Lake Jackson confrontation to defend McNutt. Brown said, “You’ll see that he didn’t even get close to the (Bonnen) house really. He was out in the street. There’s no question about who was in the right here…He (McNutt) was respectful, he talked to the officers respectfully.”

The DPS body cam footage backed up what Brown said. McNutt was armed only with fliers in support of the constitutional carry gun legislation. At one point the DPS officer even volunteered to place the flier on Bonnen’s door for McNutt.

Weeks after the encounter Bonnen and McNutt found themselves seated near each other at a GOP fundraiser. Words were exchanged between the two resulting in Bonnen leaving the event before he was scheduled to speak. Bonnen told the media he believed the run-in was a “setup”.  

At the Tuesday press conference McNutt, Brown and Binnall accused Speaker Bonnen of making false statements about the encounters with McNutt to divert attention away from his “schemes” to kill the Constitutional Carry bill.

Brown listed what they believe are three lies spread by Bonnen:

Lie #1:   That Mr. McNutt threatened the Speaker’s family while canvassing the Speaker’s neighborhood, when in fact he never saw nor spoke to any family member. Recently released Department of Public Safety body cam footage and statements confirm McNutt’s account and that video can be seen here.

According to a written report of the encounter, DPS Trooper James Johnson stated, “McNutt did not make any threatening statements towards Representative Bonnen’s people...I did not observe McNutt wearing any type of firearm...After a brief conversation, McNutt drove out of the neighborhood without incident.”

Lie #2:   That Mr. McNutt “brandished” a firearm in the presence of legislative staff when in fact McNutt was unarmed. He did not even travel with a firearm, as those who interacted with Mr. McNutt can confirm.

Lie #3:   That Mr. McNutt “set up” a confrontation at a recent Texas Republican Party fundraiser. According to Darlene Pendery, a top donor to the Republican Party of Texas, and one of many witnesses to the encounter, Speaker Bonnen was the instigator and his abrasive conduct towards McNutt made the event a horrible evening.

“The smear and intimidation tactics used by Speaker Dennis Bonnen are alarmingly similar to the unethical, cutthroat methods we saw used by the Left to vilify Brett Kavanaugh during the tortuous circus of hearings,” Pendery said following the event.

“Taken as a whole, these are slanderous actions and no politician is immune from the rules of good conduct and integrity,” said Brown.

“We are currently investigating whether Bonnen’s intimidation tactics involved the misappropriation of state resources,” stated NAGR Attorney Jesse Binnall. “If the Speaker of the Texas House -- the third most powerful politician in the state -- intentionally abused public resources to perpetuate falsehoods against a political opponent, that would be an affront to the free-speech rights of all Texans, and is conduct unbecoming of a legislator. We’re looking into all options available to hold Speaker Bonnen accountable for his actions. At the very least, he should apologize.”