A Texas open carry firearms group says its members are threatening to bolt the NRA for criticizing as "weird" its campaign of showing up at Texas restaurants armed with AR-15s and other long guns in support of its Second Amendment rights.
The backlash from Open Carry Texas follows a statement from the NRA last week that said such demonstrations "using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners."
The NRA statement, issued by its legislative lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, said such actions "crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness."
"That's not the Texas way. And that's certainly not the NRA way," the statement said.
Recent demonstrations by OCT at restaurants in the Dallas and San Antonio areas sparked a petition drive by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that led Chipotle to call on its customers keep their guns at home. Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Sonic Brands and Dallas-based Brinker International, which own's Chili's, have issued similar statements.
Jack in the Box said the presence of guns inside a restaurant "could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences."
In applauding such moves, Shannon Watts, founder of the Moms group, said "American businesses and restaurants should not wait for open carry extremists to demonstrate in their establishments – now is the time to stand up for the safety of employees and customers."
Erika Soto Lamb, a spokesperson for Moms Demand Action, said Tuesday that, "we are not often on the same page (with the NRA,) but were happy to see eye to eye on this."
The NRA has taken note of the public reaction, saying that while it does not support bans on guns or carrying firearms in public, even in restaurants, "when people act without thinking, or without consideration for others – especially when it comes to firearms – they set the stage for further restrictions on our rights."
"As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises," the NRA statement said.
It added that owners of firearms "face enough challenges these days; we don't need to be victims of friendly fire."
OCT said in its posting on Facebook Monday that the NRA's position is turning off many of its members.
"Already, OCT members are posting pictures of themselves cutting up their (NRA) life membership cards," the website says. "If they do not retract their disgusting and disrespectful comments, OCT will have no choice but to withdraw its full support of the NRA and establish relationships with other gun rights organizations that fight for ALL gun rights, instead of just paying them lip service the way the NRA appears to be doing."
"It is unfortunate that an organization that claims to be dedicated to the preservation of gun rights would attack another organization fighting so hard for those rights in Texas," the group says.
OCT, which has branches in 40 Texas counties and in major cities, says it is dedicated to the "safe and legal carry of firearms openly" in Texas in accordance with federal and state laws.
It also stresses that it wants to "condition Texans to feel safe around law=abiding citizens that choose to carry them."