Well, here's something you don't see every day. The NRA was forced to backpedal after they dared criticize gun nuts in Texas for what most took to be as offensive and stupid behavior, and simply contrary to the NRA's goal of allowing open carry and concealed carry every damn place they please. Open Carry Texas called the statement “ignorant” and “unnecessary” in a Facebook post, apparently later taken down.
A top National Rifle Association official apologized Tuesday for the suggestion that a Texas gun rights group scale back its “open carry” demonstrations.
Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s lobbying and policy arm, said the NRA should not have scolded Open Carry Texas as “downright weird” in a Friday posting. During a Tuesday interview on the NRA’s Internet TV channel, Mr. Cox blamed the media for advancing the idea that there was a rift within the gun rights world and said the NRA supports open-carry efforts.
Open Carry Texas supporters are known for carrying large rifles into restaurants, stores and other public spaces –drawing widespread attention, and also leading some chains including Starbucks and Chipotle to ask that customers not being guns into their stores.
“The truth is an alert went out that referred to this type of behavior as weird or somehow not normal, and that was a mistake,” Mr. Cox said. “It shouldn’t have happened and I’ve had a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece and expressed his personal opinion. And our job isn’t to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners. … So this is a distraction and certainly the media has had a field day with it.”
And here's an example of what is still (for now) posted on the NRA's own website:
Recently, demonstrators have been showing up in various public places, including coffee shops and fast food restaurants, openly toting a variety of tactical long guns. Unlicensed open carry of handguns is legal in about half the U.S. states, and it is relatively common and uncontroversial in some places.
Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.
Let's not mince words, not only is it rare, it's downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.
As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here). In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that's counterproductive for the gun owning community.