HOUSTON (AP) — The National Rifle Association has rolled back an earlier statement criticizing "open carry" rallies in Texas in which gun rights advocates have brought military-style assault rifles into public places.
Chris Cox, the executive director of the group's lobbying arm, said in an interview Tuesday on an NRA-hosted radio show that the statement was "a mistake" and that it was written by a staffer who was expressing his personal opinion.
"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. It shouldn't have happened," said Cox, who added that the group "unequivocally" supports open carry laws.
The open carry rallies in restaurants and other businesses — part of a push for less restrictive gun laws, including legalizing the open carry of handguns — have prompted public criticism, and the NRA appeared to join in last week.
Wow. This is the second time in less than a year when a gun-rights spokesman has walked back a comment -- remember the Guns & Ammo fiasco from last year? I'm guessing this wasn't spurred by a negative reaction from the Texas open carry movement, which could have been expected, but from other NRA members who were upset over the tone and language as much as the content. Why call somebody weird when you can get the message out just by saying they perhaps being counterproductive?
I appreciate the "never give an inch" strategy, I really do. People in the anti-gun crowd see any tolerance of gun control as a sign of weakness. But there is a distinction that should be made between government regulations and individual decisions on personal behavior. People who carry long rifles into fast-food places just to make the point that they can are not doing Second Amendment supporters any favors.