Texas News
3:47 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

NRA To Texans Carrying Rifles In Public Spaces, Restaurants: ‘It’s Downright Weird’

The National Rifle Association isn’t too happy with folks who are carrying rifles in restaurants in Texas.

Gun rights activists have been carrying firearms in public protests across Texas.
Credit KUT and Twitter/@SocialMatchbox and @davidb00ts

Using guns to draw attention to yourself in public defies common sense and shows a lack of consideration, according to this NRA blog post.

“It's downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself,” the NRA post says. “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.”

The NRA message comes after customers brought rifles to a San Antonio Chili’s and after gun rights advocates brought military-style assault rifles into a Dallas Chipotle last month. Chipotle recently announced it will no longer welcome guns in its restaurants. The Dallas-based parent company of Chili’s is asking customers to leave guns out of its restaurants. Sonic Drive-In also issued a similar statement.

Around the state, gun rights advocates, bearing semi-automatic rifles, have gathered at open-carry rallies. Open-carry supporters want to legalize open-carry handguns in Texas.

Open-carry groups respond

One of the groups leading the open-carry effort, Open Carry Texas, issued a statement on its Facebook page: "It is unfortunate that an organization that claims to be dedicated to the preservation of gun rights would attack another organization fighting so hard for those rights in Texas. The fact is that the NRA hasn't been able to get open carry passed in Texas since the right was first taken away from us when Jim Crow laws were passed in the 1860s, making us one of only 5 states where it is still illegal. The NRA has refused to learn for themselves how Open Carry Texas (OCT) conducts itself other than what the liberal media and Bloomberg funded gun control extremists have falsely portrayed."

Before the NRA issued its statement, open-carry groups had been facing criticism for their efforts. Various open-carry groups earlier issued a joint statement: "We have decided the prudent path, to further our goals, is to immediately cease taking long guns into corporate businesses unless invited. Black Powder revolvers have proven to be very effective and align with our goal of legalizing open carry with a handgun."

More from the NRA: Carrying firearms isn't the 'Texas way'

Here’s more from the NRA post:

…but  a small number have recently crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness.

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. …

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.