By LISA MARIE PANE
PARIS, Texas (AP) - Gun-rights activists, some of them openly toting rifles and handguns, marched alongside the hundreds of people who flocked to downtown Dallas last week to protest police shootings of blacks.
Their presence was part of the new legal landscape in Texas. Earlier this year, the state allowed people to openly carry firearms in public.
When a sniper started gunning down officers patrolling the peaceful march, the attack ignited panic and confusion. Who was shooting? Were the people with weapons friend or foe?
It was the same nightmare scenario that some law enforcement officials predicted when Texas approved the open-carry proposal.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown estimated that 20 to 30 open-carry activists attended the rally. Some wore gas masks, bulletproof vests and fatigues. They ran when the shots rang out.