Little Odessa, Texazistan

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Open Carry Protestors and Bar Owner Arrested in Odessa

The owner of Big Daddy Zan's Bar in Odessa, Gabrielle Ellison, was arrested Monday after a SWAT team was sent to shut her business down. She was charged with violating Gov. Abbott's executive order that certain small businesses, including bars, remain closed.

At a press conference Tuesday, Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis defended the arrests, saying that while he doesn't always agree with what Gov. Greg Abbott or the Texas Legislature does, and while he hopes to see the economy opened back up, this event wasn't about Second Amendment rights or protesting. Griffis added that the demonstrators came from all over the state to encourage the bar owner to defy the governor, instill fear, and provoke others.

He went on to say several times that this wasn't a protest, saying, “They were just standing around with guns.”

Griffis also talked about the definition of the word “premises” as it relates to carrying a firearm at bar, saying “premises” is any property controlled by the license holder.

The statutory definition the sheriff cited appears to be part of Chapter 11.49 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, which states: “In this code, ‘premises' means the grounds and all buildings, vehicles, and appurtenances pertaining to the grounds, including any adjacent premises if they are directly or indirectly under the control of the same person.”