The National Rifle Association has apologized to a Texas gun rights group for calling it "downright weird" that its attention-seeking members flash their weapons in public, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s policy wing, said that the organization was wrong to condemn Open Carry Texas supporters for showing up with large rifles at stores and restaurants as part of their open carry protests.
Their actions have led to a public outcry over the "scary" guns display and some chains, including Starbucks and Chipotle, have urged customers not to bring weapons into their stores, according to the Journal.
"The truth is an alert went out that referred to this type of behavior as weird or somehow not normal, and that was a mistake," Cox said on the NRA’s Internet channel.
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"It shouldn’t have happened, and I’ve had a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece and expressed his personal opinion. And our job isn’t to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners. So this is a distraction, and certainly the media has had a field day with it."
On Friday, the NRA posted a comment online about the tactics of Open Carry Texas.
"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," an NRA official wrote.
"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."
The comments particularly referred to a recent public demonstration in Texas by Open Carry Texas members, during which gun owners showed up at a Chipotle restaurant with assault rifles slung across their chest.
But Open Carry Texas immediately hit back.
"The NRA has refused to learn for themselves how Open Carry Texas conducts itself other than what the liberal media and Bloomberg-funded gun-control extremists have falsely portrayed," the group wrote on its Facebook page.
Cox said during his apology on the NRA channel that there has just been a difference of opinion with Open Carry Texas on how to fight for open carry and concealed carry laws.
"We can have disagreements on tactics, but what we can’t have are disagreements on underlying principles," he said. "It’s a distraction, there was some confusion. We apologize for any confusion."
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