In a remarkably frank statement issued on Friday, the National Rifle Association said that gun activists in Texas had “crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness” with their demonstrations at fast food restaurants.
Activists, most notably those with a group called Open Carry Texas, have drawn attention to themselves recently for their attempts to get served at chain restaurants while carrying high-powered semiautomatic rifles. In response, several chains, including Chipotle, were compelled to ask customers to not bring guns to their restaurants. The backlash was such that the groups themselves felt compelled to issue a statement late last month asking their members to avoid carrying long arms into private businesses during demonstrations.
But in its statement Friday, the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, went further, publicly denouncing the tactics employed by Open Carry Texas and other groups as “weird” and even “scary.”
“As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises,” the unsigned statement said. “To state the obvious, that’s counterproductive for the gun owning community.”
In denouncing the demonstrations, the NRA said that using guns “to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners.”
“[W]hile 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,” the statement said. “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.”
The NRA made clear it “does not support bans on personalized guns or on carrying firearms in public, including in restaurants. ” But it concluded that “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.”
(h/t Mother Jones)