NRA Apologizes for Calling Open Carry Demonstrators ‘Weird’

By AWR Hawkins

AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Washington DC – -(  On June 4 2014, the National Rifle Association's (NRA) Chris Cox apologized for a published statement by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) that described openly carrying an AR-15 or AK-47 for demonstration purposes as “weird.”

On June 2, AmmoLand News reported that the NRA-ILA released the statement referring to the open carry demonstrations that had taken place in Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Chili's, and Sonic as “downright weird.”

Cox took time to clarify the NRA's stance on open carry and to apologize for the negative statement about activists:

The National Right Association supports open carry. We support concealed carry. We have led the charge across the country, not only to protect our members' rights to self-defense, but to expand [them]. You've seen this through the parking lot bills, the right to carry bills, and our open carry efforts. We believe that people should own guns safely and responsibly. That's what we teach. That's what we're about.

He went on to say that those openly carrying long guns in pursuit of getting the open carry of handguns legalized in states like Texas are in pursuit of a “shared goal.” 

Cox stated, “All of us believe the limitation and the prohibition on openly carrying a handgun in Texas need to be changed.” He added, “We're getting close” to changing that law, and this “ultimately comes down to a tactics discussion,” in which “some people think the best way to effectuate that sort of policy change is in protest.”

The protest to which he was referring was the act of “openly and legally” carrying long guns in public.

He then referenced the NRA-ILA alert that “went out [referring] to this type of behavior as ‘weird' or somehow not normal.” As an apology, he said, “That was a mistake. It should not have happened. … Our job is not to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners.”

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AWR Hawkins writes for all the BIG sites, for Pajamas Media, for, for and now AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

His southern drawl is frequently heard discussing his take on current events on radio shows like America's Morning News, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, the Ken Pittman Show, and the NRA's Cam & Company, among others. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal (summer 2010), and he holds a PhD in military history from Texas Tech University.

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  • 17 thoughts on “NRA Apologizes for Calling Open Carry Demonstrators ‘Weird’

    1. I should point out, having been around longer than most, that I can still remember back in the late 1950s and early ’60s, when the civil rights “lunch counter sit-ins,” marches, and rallies were going on in the southern states, and the NAACP and various other “established” (read “well behaved”) minority representation groups, along with the general press pundits, were regularly making the same arguments about how “scaring the populace with these demonstrations” was having a negative effect and how much political backlash there would be against the black population. If Martin Luther King and others like him had listened to those arguments, we’d probably still have segregation in the US. If these demonstrations make some people uncomfortable, if they get lots of press (even “bad” press), then they may still be accomplishing their goals. In fact, there is NO way to increase firearms freedom in the country that does not involve scaring some people and making lots more people nervous. In fact, without all the recent hoorah, this topic would not even be coming up again in the TX legislature. It would be dying in committee as it has before. But NOW it is a major topic in campaign speeches, and those Republicans who didn’t think it was important or who stalled it before, are pledging to carry water for the bill next time. Seems to me I just saw a bumper sticker that said “Well behaved women don’t make history!”

    2. Actually, for those of you who keep saying that the “only thing” these OCT demonstrations have accomplished is to annoy several stores/restaurants, you obviously haven’t been paying much attention to TX politics. In fact, this is a topic that has not been on the public or legislature’s radar with any importance until these demonstrations started, and it has become a hot topic since all the “bad” press coverage. We now have both lt gov. candidates (including one who previously stopped this kind of bill), stating they support changing the law to allow open carry of handguns. So the OCT guys have already accomplished some of their objectives. I noticed that another poster here has already pointed out that these various chains and stores haven’t actually banned guns on their premises, but have only “asked” that guns not be carried openly there. They know perfectly well what is required (a specific “30.06 sign”) to keep CHL folks, out and none have yet put up such a sign. In any case, it now looks like there is a very good chance of getting our state law (if not the constitution) changed in the next legislature to allow open carry of handguns (if only to make these demonstrations go away!?), so it is incorrect to say they haven’t accomplished anything good…they have!

    3. @Cecil, I don’t have a problem with reading comprehension. Please read my post once more. The actual words not what you want it to say. I stated that “Sooner or later someone is going to approach a store with a weapon at port arms, decked out in tactical vest, mag in the gun and a jumpy CCW or off duty cop is going to DRAW on them or WORSE.” NOTE I SAID WEAPON AT PORT ARMS NOT OVER ONES SHOULDER! Of course how the person is carrying the weapon along with other non verbal cues would make a big difference in how a CCW holder or an off duty cop responded. Can’t you see how something COULD go wrong in one of these stunts? It will only take once! Do you know every CCW holder and how or what they will react to? Look all I am saying is that I think this isn’t safe unless it’s a large protest event and planned well. Sooner or later some yahoo is going pull a publicity stunt on his own and it won’t be well thought out. They will be carrying the gun at the ready with a mag in it, NOT over the shoulder and there will be a confrontation by some CCW holder that has never encountered a “PERCEIVED” threat before and who’s only training was a couple of hour course. The open carry guy may know their intent but others may not. In this day and age of mass shootings a CCW holder or an off duty cop would be pretty foolish not to raise their situational awareness/threat level if any stranger approached them with a weapon being carried at the ready. If YOU don’t heighten your awareness when a stranger approaches you with a weapon at the ready then maybe you need not bother carrying a firearm for protection.

    4. This is “legal” open carry !…”legal” open carry ! You can’t be selective about gun rights ! Calling this a publicity stunt,but that isn’t,… is idiotic ! You are either all in or your not in at all ! Like I said,the NRA have shown their true colors by insulting Texans and legal open carry in Texas ! Texas does not need the NRA as they are finding out right about now !

    5. One picture is worth a 1,000 words and the one on the internet shows two jerks dressed like slobs with so-called assault rifles, and they did the anti-gunners a big favor by getting Chili’s and Sonic to ban firearms when they had no stance on them in the first place.
      Bad manners overrules good intentions!
      Gun banners won; Open Carry advocates lost in the court of public opinion.
      Its not the NRA’s fault that some gunowners are assholes!

    6. “The only thing these publicity stunts have accomplished is getting a couple of chain stores and fast food joints to place weapons off limits. Now you can no longer CCW in their establishments.” Totally true.

    7. Bigmac, do you really think a CCW would just shoot someone because they have a rifle over their shoulder? Because that is what you said could happen. Are you inclined that way? Might want to leave your gun at home, you make me uncomfortable. By the way, in most cases the chains have only ‘asked’ that there is not open carry, nothing was said about concealed – ever. So Bigmac, are you spreading untruths due to low reading comprehension or is it deliberate?
      In Texas, where the NRA stupidly made a fool of themselves, the only legal open carry is a rifle. They do group events and some do it in ones and twos. Since there is nothing else allowed by law to normalize public opinion of firearms, they carry rifles. If the law allowed open carry of handguns, that would be much easier, but it doesn’t yet (something that Open Carry Texas is working toward, with or without the NRA) so people do what they can – unlike others carping from the cheap seats.

    8. I believe open carry demonstrations will only result in banning all firearms in many businesses.
      These “in your face” encounters have a negative effect with the general public.

    9. If not for the NRA Texas would have had open carry years ago. I stated previously and I’ll say it again, when I worked at NRA Public Relations (now Public Affairs) everything that was written was reviewed by at least two editors before it was released, even if from a division head.

      This is pure theatre by the NRA. They stated it was the personal opinion of a staffer. So the NRA now hires personnel whose personal beliefs are these? Laughable. This was calculated, IMO. The damage was done and now the apology gets minor play.

      It’s well known that the NRA has hindered efforts of grassroots groups if it doesn’t benefit them (NRA) or if they have something similar planned but on a different timetable.

      Final call: My BS meter is pegged all the way in the red.

    10. I don’t know about weird but I do think it’s the wrong approach to reaching your goal. The only thing these publicity stunts have accomplished is getting a couple of chain stores and fast food joints to place weapons off limits. Now you can no longer CCW in their establishments. In this day in age with mass shootings I don’t think it’s very smart for one or two guys to waltz into a store, mall or fast food joint in full battle rattle with a rifle in your hands. A large rally that has been advertised would be ok, IMHO but one or two guys pulling a publicity stunt seems less than safe. Sooner or later someone is going to approach a store with a weapon at port arms, decked out in tactical vest, mag in the gun and a jumpy CCW or off duty cop is going to draw on them or worse. Then the media will have a field day and hundreds or thousands of establishments will make weapons off limits. It maybe within our rights but IMHO these publicity stunts are a poor idea unless they are done on a large scale and advertised. Like a protest rally.

    11. As long as the ‘anti-gun’ minions keep the debate in play they will succeed in fragmenting the gun lobby over issues like ‘Concealed Carry’ vs. ‘Open Carry’. No one should separate themselves from any ‘pro-gun’ organization they currently hold membership in. The goal of the ‘anti’s is to marginalize gun owners any way they can. We should stand united, they certainly do.

    12. The NRA is really back peddling,..wont work ! They said I couldn’t cancel my membership on the phone/by email. No trick to that ! I sent my membership card and certificates I have got since ’73 back to them piece by piece ! They showed their true colors….YELLOW !

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