Tuesday’s Allen City Council meeting took an unusual turn when a contingent of supporters showed up in bright green shirts with the words “Lauren represents me” to voice their opinion on last month’s comments regarding Councilwoman Lauren Doherty’s place on the council.
On June 25, three residents spoke during the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting to ask for Doherty’s resignation from the council, citing her votes against businesses such as Ally Outfitters and Tractor Supply Company, and their belief that she does not represent the majority of voters.
Many among the group that came out Tuesday night, organized by Collin County Democratic Party chair candidate Manu Lail, took issue with June 25 speaker Richard Bush’s visible gun that was legally holstered to the back of his waistband.
In a release, Lail’s campaign stated, “Responsible gun ownership includes the exercising good judgment in deciding the appropriate context and setting in which to carry. In the setting of a secure and guarded city council chamber and in the context of his grievances directed at Councilwoman Doherty, Dr. Bush’s conduct fell somewhere between intentionally and recklessly intimidating an elected official.”
Bush spoke again Tuesday, saying he didn’t believe he intimidated Doherty, to which she did not respond, and that as a retired police officer and Navy Seal, carrying a firearm is general practice in his day-to-day life.
“To me, a gun is like an American Express card; you don’t leave home without it,” he said. “I don’t carry a gun to intimidate anybody.”
During the hour-long comments period of the hour-and-a-half meeting, tensions and frustrations increased, and Mayor Stephen Terrell expressed his own disappointment at the political tone.
“This is not council business,” he said. “This is political actions in this room right now, and that is not what we’re here to deal with, and that’s not what these seven people are elected to do.”
Once public comments ended, Terrell asked for a “truce” in order to get back to council business.
Sandy Jacobs of Frisco, former Carrollton city council member and Denton County commissioner, was among a few of the speakers who asked that council consider an ordinance to post a weapons prohibited sign on the door of council chambers.
While concealed carry is allowed in the Allen chambers, many municipal facilities like Plano do not allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons inside.