NRA: Sorry We Called Open-Carry Crew 'Weird'

Walks back surprising statement from last week

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 4, 2014 8:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – Well, so much for that: On Friday, a statement appeared on the website of the NRA's lobbying arm that Talking Points Memo called "amazing" and "remarkably frank," but days later, the organization has backtracked. Why? Well, the initial statement—which the head of the lobbying arm now says was simply one staff member's "personal opinion"—called out pro-gun activists in Texas who have been showing up in fast food joints and coffee shops carrying high-powered long guns, calling the practice "downright foolishness" and the idea of toting a semiautomatic rifle as you go about your daily errands "downright weird." Needless to say, the NRA is now walking that back.

Open-carry activists had called the statement "disgusting and disrespectful," Talking Points Memo reports, and now Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, says the whole thing was "a mistake. It shouldn't have happened," he told NRA News yesterday. "I've had a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece, and expressed his personal opinion. Our job is not to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners." He adds, "The National Rifle Association supports open carry, we support concealed carry. ... There was some confusion, we apologize, again, for any confusion that that post caused." He adds that the activists in question are protesting "the absurdity" of Texas' ban on openly carrying handguns, a prohibition the NRA is trying to change.

National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris W. Cox speaks at the NRA's annual convention in Friday, April 25, 2014.   (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
In this May 29, 2014, file photo, Kory Watkins carries his AK-47 as he and his wife Janie, rear, gather for a demonstration in Haltom City, Texas.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
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