It seems like the headline above should be about something happening in California, not Texas, but prosecutors in Milam County in the Lone Star State are indeed going after a guy for carrying a firearm, even though he had a valid Texas Concealed Handgun License.
According to prosecutors, the problem is that Patrick Lewis Vaden isn’t just licensed to carry a handgun, he’s a member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, which has been designated a criminal gang by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The local District Attorneys says the way he reads the law in Texas, that means Vaden can’t legally carry a gun. Vaden’s defense attorney disagrees, and the issue ultimately led to a mistrial this week.
More than 24 hours after jury selection, on Tuesday, the case abruptly ended in a mistrial and an appeal. Defense Attorney Kurt Glass told 6 News that Judge Steve Young ruled a mistrial after Glass refused to exclude a critical fact in the trial.
“What we have to appeal is whether or not Mr. Vaden and his license to carry are able to be mentioned in front of the jury,” Glass said.
Glass said the prosecution filed a motion last week requesting that Vaden’s license to carry, which was valid at the time of the arrest, was not to be admitted into evidence. He said Young agreed with prosecutors on Monday, but he had to risk bringing the LTC up in court regardless in order to lay the groundwork for a possible appeal after the case. He hopes it won’t come to that.
“Depends upon what the court of appeals does,” Glass said. “The court of appeals has the option to send the case back down with no decision, or they can tell the judge, ‘Hey, you have to follow the law and allow Mr. Vaden to tell the jury he was allowed to carry a weapon.’”