The almost-too-hot-for-the-NRA gun rights group Open Carry Texas was back at it this weekend, demonstrating in a Dallas suburb and making a stop in a parking lot outside a Target store.
The group posted numerous pictures on its Facebook page from its activities Saturday in Irving, Texas. (Open carry of long guns, including semiautomatic rifles, is legal in Texas, but open carry of handguns isn’t. Open Carry Texas’ demonstrations are partly designed to call attention to that fact.) According to the gun-control group Moms Demand Action, the activists gathered in a parking lot outside a Target store in Irving.
“Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America confirmed with a Target manager that the store knew in advance that the open carry rally would take place, and Target did nothing to stop it,” Moms Demand Action said in an emailed statement.
Target has been a focus of both Open Carry Texas and Moms Demand Action. Open Carry Texas’ activities have prompted several chain restaurants, including Chipotle, to ask customers to keep guns out of their establishments. Moms Demand Action has been calling for Target, the retail giant, to follow suit. But Target has said that it will follow local laws on the issue, as in this statement to Mother Jones. Open Carry Texas lauded the company’s position in a Facebook post Saturday.
“Thank you, Target, for not taking a position and allowing state law to dictate policy,” the group said. “We in Open Carry Texas will continue to refrain from taking long arms into your businesses, but will continue spending our money there.”
In its Facebook posts this weekend, Open Carry Texas highlighted the fact that even though some restaurants had invited them to bring their guns in while they ate a meal, they had left their guns outside.
“On Friday, I had the honor of walking with our OCT: San Antonio group,” Open Carry Texas president C.J. Grisham said in a post. “A local business invited us to eat – with our firearms. Instead, we locked our rifles in my van and ate without them.”
Open Carry Texas and other pro-gun groups in Texas announced late last month that it was going to stop taking long guns into private businesses unless asked. The move was a concession to the bad press and corporate reactions the demonstrations were causing. Earlier this month, even the NRA issued a statement calling the tactics employed by Open Carry Texas and other groups “weird” and even “scary” — though the NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris Cox came out just days later and disavowed the criticism and apologized for it.