MILAM COUNTY, Texas — A court in Milam County could be on the way to ruling that members of the Bandidos motorcycle club cannot possess handguns thanks to the State of Texas vs. Patrick Lewis Vaden.
Court documents state that Vaden, a member of the Bandidos, was stopped by Department of Public Safety Trooper Michael Tice in November of 2018 for going 67mph in a 60mph zone. Vaden had a License To Carry at the time and was carrying at the time of the stop.
According to a court transcript, Tice said he checked Vaden's drivers license and found information that Vaden was confirmed as a gang member in the Texas Gang Intelligence Index. TxGANG a database index of persons associated with street gangs.
Tice arrested Vaden for unlawfully carrying a weapon despite the fact that Vaden had a LTC. Vaden's attorney, Kurt Glass, told 6 News Tuesday that it never should have happened.
Texas Penal Code Section 46.02(a-1)(2)(C) states a person cannot carry a handgun if they are a a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01
Section 46.15(b)(6)(A)(B) says Section 46.02 does not apply to a person who is carrying a LTC issued under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, provided they are carrying correctly, which Vaden was doing.
Glass filed a "motion to suppress" with the eventual goal of getting the case dismissed based on these sections of law.
Coryell County Judge Steve Young did not agree to it, and stated in an opinion and order of the court that "common sense dictates" that a LTC should not invalidate the penalties in section 46.02.
So what does this mean for other Bandidos and other motorcycle clubs? Glass told 6 News it sets a dangerous precedent.
Glass said Vaden is an Army veteran of 24 years who was honorably discharged, honorably retired, and a purple heart Recipient. Glass said he never committed a felony and legally obtained an LTC.
The Bandidos have been classified as a Tier 2 Gang by the Texas Department of Public Safety and members of the gang are listed in the TxGANG system according to a court transcript of the case.
According to case documents, Milam Assistant District Attorney Kyle Nuttall and County Judge Steve Young also said the Bandidos are a "Criminal Street Gang Under" Texas penal code 71.01.
This means any member of the Bandidos could fit into the large net of definitions used in this case in Milam county or any supposed gang member listed in the TxGANG system, which is not open to the public.
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