You know you’ve crossed the line as a gun activist when even the National Rifle Association denounces your tactics.
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action released a surprising statement on Friday condemning Texas gun-rights supporters who have been hosting demonstrations in which they go into restaurants carrying long guns. The demonstrations started getting a lot of attention once Chilli’s, Chipotle, Sonic, and Jack in the Box asked patrons to refrain from bringing firearms into their restaurants.
Gun-rights group Open Carry Texas said on its Facebook page that the demonstrations were, with one exception, coordinated with and approved by the locations they took place in. However, the open-carry “walks” still drew criticism from some customers and even the NRA itself.
Referencing “checks on bad behaviour” and noting that “just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done,” the NRA more or less said the demonstrations were making gun activists look bad (emphasis ours):
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.
As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here). 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 behaviour. 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.
Mother Jones called the statement an “extraordinary move” and pointed out a possible reason behind it — the behaviour of some pro-gun advocates is making it difficult for gun lobbyists in Washington, D.C. to get support for easing gun laws.
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