Last week the National Rifle Association published a statement criticizing open carry activists in Texas for bringing rifles into restaurants, and now the executive director of the NRA's lobby arm is calling it "a mistake." According to the AP, Chris Cox went on an NRA-hosted radio show on Tuesday and said that the NRA's statement "shouldn't have happened" and that it was written by a staffer "expressing his personal opinion." Cox also added that the NRA "'unequivocally' supports open carry laws." The NRA's statement called the actions of the open carry demonstrators "downright weird," and that they showed "a lack of consideration and manners."
Open carry supporters were so incensed by the NRA's words that they started tearing up their NRA membership cards. Open Carry Texas also issued a statement demanding that the NRA retract its "disgusting and disrespectful comments" and threatened to withdraw its support of the NRA if no apology was issued. Cox's statement seems to have helped quell the rage: Open Carry Texas wrote in a Facebook post that they would "like to both thank and applaud Chris Cox and the National Rifle Association for clarification on their stance of open carry." An open carry supporter told WFAA that hearing those words from Cox "was refreshing." The supporter added, "Getting the clarification from them that it wasn't an official stance and that it was just a low-level employee ... it makes sense."
The controversial statement by the NRA was published last week in response to open carry supporters in Texas demonstrating their right to bring firearms into public places by bring large guns into restaurants. In lieu of these actions, restaurants like Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili's all recently announced policies asking gun owners to leave their firearms at home.