- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The National Rifle Association said it was a mistake to label open carry demonstrators in Texas as “attention-hungry” and “weird” last week in a statement that caused many gun enthusiasts to disavow the organization.

Chris Cox, the executive director of the group’s lobbying arm, said Tuesday on an NRA-hosted radio show that the group “unequivocally” supports open carry laws, and that the controversial statement saying otherwise 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,” he said, the Associated Press reported.

A statement that appeared on the website for the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, shunned Open Carry Texas and similar groups after they walked into Texas-area outlets of Sonic and Chili’s restaurants carrying military-style assault rifles, causing the restaurants to stiffen their gun policies.

The statement charged that the demonstrators crossed the line “from enthusiasm to downright foolishness.”

“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,” the statement said, which remained on the NRA’s website Wednesday morning.

As a result, many open carry groups, including Open Carry Texas, threatened to leave the NRA if it didn’t change its stance.

“I personally am an endowment lifetime member of the NRA and an inductee into the Golden Eagles program, and I will rip up my cards and burn my certificates on camera if they don’t change their stance,” said OCT President C.J. Grisham.