With all this back-and-forth on open carry tactics in Texas, it looks like the NRA is trying to make sure the focus remains on gun rights instead of the things that divide us.
Anti-gun activists and gun control groups have claimed victories in the news of some restaurants banning guns after open carry demonstrations were held in their establishments. The NRA recently released a statement criticizing these open carry tactics in private businesses even though the actions have been legal. The worry has been that these demonstrations have backfired causing even more gun restrictions.
But in this recent interview the NRA has backtracked on its criticism of open carry groups, saying that the staffer who wrote a particular statement slipped in some of his personal beliefs.
The NRA’s top lobbyist Chris Cox appeared on Cam & Company, the group’s news show, to discuss the statement that it released on May 30,where it called certain tactics of some “downright foolishness.” He claimed that the commentary piece was written by a staffer who slipped in his personal views on the issue.
“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. It shouldn’t have happened,” Cox told Cam Edwards (and his hat).
“I’ve had a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece and expressed his personal opinion. And our job is not to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners. Our job is to effectuate policy changes that expands and protects our members’ right of self-defense. So this is a distraction, certainly the media has had a field day with it,” Cox added.
The following is the statement originally issued by the NRA-ILA, which Cox describes as a poorly written post by an NRA-ILA staffer,
Now we love AR-15s and AKs as much as anybody, and we know that these sorts of semiautomatic carbines are among the most popular, fastest selling firearms in America today. Texas, independent-minded and liberty-loving place that it is, doesn’t ban the carrying of loaded long guns in public, nor does it require a permit for this activity. Yet some so-called firearm advocates seem determined to change this.
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.
More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. Using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.
Now more than ever gun owners need to be united, and with elections rapidly approaching the fight should be with those who seek to restrict our rights and make us less safe than with our fellow patriots, even if we don’t agree on every single issue.
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