The National Rifle Association’s legislative arm said gun rights advocates should stop bringing rifles to restaurants and other businesses, calling the activities "downright weird" in a blog post Friday.
Members of Open Carry Texas, a group that advocates for the right to openly display handguns and rifles in public, recently made national news after they gathered en masse at restaurant chains such as Chipotle and Jack in the Box with rifles slung over their shoulders. Both chained asked patrons to stop bringing firearms.
In the blog post, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action chided the Open Carry Texas members:
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. 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.
In summary, NRA certainly does not support bans on personalized guns or on carrying firearms in public, including in restaurants. We think people are intelligent enough to resolve these issues in a reasonable way for themselves. But when people act without thinking, or without consideration for others – especially when it comes to firearms – they set the stage for further restrictions on our rights. Firearm owners face enough challenges these days; we don't need to be victims of friendly fire.
Open Carry Texas responded via Twitter: "The NRA has lost its relevance and sided with #guncontrolextremists and their lapdog media."