"Open Carry Texas would like to both thank and applaud Chris Cox and the National Rifle Association for clarification on their stance of open carry," the group said in a statement posted to its Facebook page late Tuesday.
The statement may resolve the rare schism that appeared this week between the NRA and local pro-gun activists. Open Carry Texas is the most prominent group associated with a series of recent demonstrations where members took semi-automatic rifles into fast food restaurants. In an unsigned statement published online on Friday, the NRA's lobbying arm sharply criticized the activists, denouncing their tactics as as "weird" and "scary." The activists responded by demanding that the NRA retract the statement, and threatening to withdraw its support of the NRA. That's essentially what happened on Tuesday, when Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, gave an interview in which he blamed Friday's statement on a lone staff member and apologized for "any confusion" the statement caused.
Cox's words appear to be enough to mollify Open Carry Texas.
"We remain confident that the NRA will aid with legislative support, to help in getting an open carry bill both drafted, and passed in the 2015 legislative session," the group said in its Facebook post. "With or without support of the NRA, our mission is unchanged: to legalize open carry of modern handguns in Texas and to continue to educate and train Texans in regard to safely carrying firearms openly."
In an interview with Texas ABC-affiliate WFAA, one member of Open Carry Texas said he was satisfied with Cox's explanation.
"Getting the clarification from them that it wasn’t an official stance and that it was just a low-level employee... it makes sense," Tov Henderson told the channel.