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NRA: “small number… crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness”

NRA: “small number… crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness”

The NRA concludes that these open carry activists are alienating the public and harming gun rights.

Well, the National Rifle Association has finally decided to release a statement about what I call the “open carry IN YOUR FACE!” (henceforth “OCIYF!”) crowd in Texas, and the implications for reasonable gun owners and concealed carriers. The money shot?

Let’s not mince words, not only is [the open carry of long guns in public] rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

Beyond weird, the NRA notes that these OCIYF!” activities are actually HARMING the interests of gun owners and those of us private citizens who carry firearms for person protection:

As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here). In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that’s counterproductive for the gun owning community.

Bottom line, anyone who carries a firearm for the primary purpose of “LOOK AT MEEEEE!,” ought to seriously consider whether they’ve achieved the maturity necessary to responsibly carry a firearm in public. Or as the NRA puts it:

More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. 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.

That’s the NRA’s position.  Much more politely put than my recent Op-Ed here at Legal Insurrection, but otherwise in close alignment:  Op-Ed: “Open Carry” Activists Score Yet Another Own Goal.  Nevertheless, I’ll close here with the same observation I made at the conclusion of that earlier Op-Ed post:

If you’ve watched the news stories about Starbucks and Chipotle making corporate-level decisions to ban lawfully carried guns from their businesses, and had the vague sense that there was someone peeing in the pool—well, you were right.

Someone is. And they’re called “OCIYF!”

On a separate note, I’ll take this opportunity to let the Legal Insurrection family know that beginning this Friday, June 6 (D-Day!) I will be launching the weekly “Law of Self Defense Podcast.”  This week’s podcast will cover Stand-Your-Ground, self-defense immunity, and whatever similar topics come to mind.  Suggestions for topics to cover in future podcasts are welcome.  For more details, keep an eye out for my posts here, or check out my blog at

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


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Screw the nra. They have the RIGHT to do what they are doing and the whiny weenies that piss themselves when they see a gun can go to hell.

    Shane in reply to Fudge. | June 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    And by your comment I can tell that you do not carry daily, open or concealed.

    tom swift in reply to Fudge. | June 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    The weak point of this statement is “right”, and what that involves.

    The restaurant chains concerned have asked – and very politely, too – that customers not bring guns (or at least openly-carried guns) into their establishments. They have conspicuously avoided weighing in on the more general issues of gun rights, and in fact seem content to comply with the current laws. Their major concern is the effect on the restaurant business. None of this is unreasonable.

    After that, it all becomes a matter of courtesy. Courtesy is, at heart, voluntary – not legal, not obligatory – acceptance of certain limitations on one’s freedom of action in a particular circumstance.

    I suspect that most of us would agree that gun owners should be courteous. Do legal rights trump courtesy? If they do, then it’s a pretty feeble sort of courtesy.

And it isn’t just Starbucks and Chipoltle anymore, Sonic and Chilli’s have jump on the band wagon.

Way to go OCT you guys are my fucking hereos. 🙁

Phillep Harding | June 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Carrying a long gun is not very convenient, but there are times and circumstances when a long gun just cannot be anything but carried in public.

How does someone on a bicycle or motorcycle secure a rifle? How about when on foot? Should someone who cannot afford a lockable car or truck be required to not carry a firearm? How many times has someone carrying a long gun from car to boat or into their homes been accosted by police officers? Are you going to say that people who are frankly poor cannot transport firearms? That they cannot shop or grab a snack while travelling?

Aside from the above, we have been polite too long. Time to force back the public perception of good manners, and to force the police to accept that people can carry long guns without being mass murderers looking for victims.

    There are plenty of genuinely good reasons to OC a rifle, too many to list here.

    Scaring the crap out of women and children at Chipotle, Starbucks, Sonic, and elsewhere, however, does not qualify as a good reason.

    It just means they’re beta male mom-basement dwelling gun-rights damaging losers.

    These were ALL ORGANIZED DEMONSTRATIONS. Not a hunter coming back from the field. Not a lawful citizen in the midst of a vacuum of authority. Not a competitor on his way to or from a match.

    These jokers showed up with their long guns in places where long guns are neither expected nor normal for the DELIBERATE AND SOLE PURPOSE of creating a ruckus.

    And in that they were successful.

    To the detriment of 100MM other gun owners who WEREN’T acting like jackasses.

    Thanks, Open Carry Texas. Thanks THIS much.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 2, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Exactly! I have been into a fast food place with an AR15 patter 7.62 NATO rifle, however, it was in a soft case with a shoulder strap, not hanging from the 3 point sling in patrol position.

      Responsible gun owners show that first part “Responsibility” in the carry, display, and use of their firearms. There is nothing responsible about carrying a battle rifle slung into a place packed with tables and chairs where it can get banged around, its bad for the guns finish. 😉

      Phillep Harding in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Why are people afraid of firearms in the hands of people who are not threatening anyone with them? Why is the mere sight of a firearm considered a threat?

      Because they have seldom seen this.

      And, necessity can be pled in court, but not while a cop has his knee in the back of your neck and a handgun screwed into your ear.

        “Why are people afraid of firearms in the hands of people who are not threatening anyone with them?”

        Because I don’t know your intent. If you are in a small town it is deer season, and you have a long gun then I can make a pretty educated guess as to your intent for having the long gun. What intent am I supposed to infer when you walk into an urban place with your single point sling holding your long gun, a full magazine in place, your safety off and you are at the time by yourself or with one other person? That it is deer season? That you are prepared to defend yourself? What? I can’t think of any good reason.

        “Why is the mere sight of a firearm considered a threat?”

        You paint a broad stroke because you don’t understand firearms. These three scenarios are the same to you because they involve a “firearm”:
        1. A man walks into a restaurant with an AR-15 on a single point sling in Houston, TX.
        2. A man walks into a restaurant with an AR-15 slung across his back in Fredricksburg, TX.
        2. A man walks into restaurant with 1911 on his hip in an open holster in Houston, TX.

        Do you really see no difference in this?

        “Because they have seldom seen this.”

        Because even the people who are hunters that live in Houston (or San Antonio) have seldom (never) seen a man with an AR-15 walking into the local Houston Starbucks. Is it bad that they have never seen this?

        “And, necessity can be pled in court, but not while a cop has his knee in the back of your neck and a handgun screwed into your ear.”

        I didn’t see where that happened to any of the OCT people. So why would you argue that? The danger for the idiot OCT people is not from the police. If you think carefully you will see why.

      retire05 in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Andrew, let’s be very clear about what OCT is all about. Their leader, (who may still be active Army) is a media wh0re who simply wants to get his name in the papers. He has recruited a lot of misguided lemmings who think their “in your fact” actions are helping people understand the value of the 2nd Amendment.

      What is happening, at least in the area of Texas where I live, is these guys are losing support from everyday CC license holders who are pretty happy to be able to carry but not scare the hell out of LIVs who sit in a restaurant with their kids. Not only do these clowns NOT have the support of 2nd Amendment Texans, they are giving the anti-gun people fuel for the fire they are building to burn the 2nd Amendment.

      The leader of this group has instigated a number of confrontations with LEOs knowing it will get reported. During one incident, he even had his son film the sheriff’s deputies, trying to make the deputies look like fools. It backfired.

      A number of mil bloggers have taken this clown to task, not liking it that he seems to think that because he wears the uniform of our nation, he has a right to be a jerk.

      All of us who legally own weapons in Texas (excluding the drug cartel members who create havoc in our state) know that part of the requirements of the 2nd Amendment is responsible ownership/handling of fire arms. There is absolutely no reason to walk into a Chili’s with a long barrel slung across your shoulder. They obviously got there in some kind of vehicle, and could have locked those firearms in that vehicle. If they are worried about personal safety while in public, they should quietly, and discretely, concealed carry.

      There is truth that you don’t want to let some bad guy know you are carrying. Being a bad guy wanting to rob a store or carrying out some other form of mayhem, the biggest fear they are going to have in Texas is someone with a CC license who is actually carrying. The element of surprise is the greatest thing in preventing a crime.

      So just know, Texans don’t appreciate their lame efforts. We are smart enough to recognize a hot shot when we see one. They need to go away. Their 15 minutes was used up long ago.

        DaveGinOly in reply to retire05. | June 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm

        “There is absolutely no reason to walk into a Chili’s with a long barrel slung across your shoulder.”

        Are you a Christian? Of what denomination? Let’s assume you’re a Presbyterian. But there is no reason for you to be a Presbyterian, when there are so many Christian denominations to choose from. So let’s discourage people from being Presbyterians because we find their beliefs objectionable. Even if we prevented all Presbyterians from practicing their religion, we would not have infringed upon their freedom of religion because there are still other Christian faiths for them to practice.

        Does that make sense? No, of course it doesn’t. If you have a right, you’re supposed to be free to exercise it, no matter how objectionable it may be to others. And you can’t compensate for an infringement upon a right merely by leaving some portion of it intact.

        There is no need to open carry, but we have a “Bill of Rights,” not a “Bill of Needs.” Remember, there are plenty of people out there who think that you have “no reason” to own a gun in the first place. Their opinion of your exercise of your constitutionally-guaranteed rights is as valid as your opinion of how others choose to exercise their rights. How do you rate the gun-grabbers’ opinion of your right to arms? Answer that question, and you have condemned your own opinion of the these open carry people.

          Shane in reply to DaveGinOly. | June 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm

          “So let’s discourage people from being Presbyterians because we find their beliefs objectionable.”

          Yep, and as individuals if we believe that being Presbyterian is evil then we have every power to encourage them not to be such, but the constitution says that the GOVERNMENT shall not interfere i.e. make laws to make it illegal to be Presbyterian.

          “If you have a right, you’re supposed to be free to exercise it, no matter how objectionable it may be to others.”

          Don’t forget that your rights without objection apply to others also. So when I show up at your home set up my tripod mounted .50 cal. on the sidewalk, put my ammo can next to it line up my belt feed and point the damn thing at your front door, remember I am just exercising my constitutionally protected right to bear arms.

        Another Ed in reply to retire05. | June 5, 2014 at 1:43 am

        Next thing you know, groups of blacks will be going to restaurants demanding that food be served to them despite making some white customers uncomfortable:

        Or denial of service because of too many tattoos:

        Or denial of service because a child has a non-contagious, “icky” skin disorder:

        Restaurants can deny service for a small list of reasons, but other customers becoming uncomfortable with a customer’s safe and legal behavior is not on the list:

        “Waiter, blue hats cause me extreme anxiety. My psychiatrist recommends that I avoid blue hats. Ask the manager to make that woman who walked in with that blue fascinator hat just like Kate Middleton wore to a ribbon cutting ceremony leave immediately.”

      beta? nay, omega.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Phillep Harding. | June 2, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    True necessity is one thing, but that’s not what’s happening with these horse’s asses.

Well said Andrew! They are just a bunch of big city assholes that don’t have a duck to carry under their raincoats

Not sure if you caught it, but MDA is claiming yet another victory due to the NRA’s statement…

NRA LEADERSHIP COMING TO THEIR SENSES? In a statement released last Friday, the NRA called for a stop to the “foolishness” of gun extremist groups that have been showing up armed in restaurants and businesses, frightening customers and management alike. The statement also indicated a softening in stance toward the introduction of smart guns. In addition, at the state level, the NRA made a dramatic shift in 2014, and now supports laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers in five states:

Moms Demand Action’s campaigns to stop dangerous open carry demonstrations have resulted in numerous companies changing their gun policies. And we have fought for and won new state laws to protect domestic violence victims. We are proud to be changing America’s culture of gun violence, and we’re gratified that the NRA is starting to support our agenda. Are you on our team? LIKE, SHARE and JOIN us:
(All via their facebook page…)

heres the issue in a nutshell.
some a**holes are exercising their rights in a stupid manner and other a**holes (and this includes me ) don’t like how they are doing it.
theres really no right entity here.
heres the aholes opencarry statement

Just goes to show there are extremes on both sides.

It’s good the NRA has addressed this, it is creating a bad image.

I myself prefer to carry concealed. I refuse to give the bad guy an advantage by losing my element of surprise.

Kind of hard to conceal a long gun. “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”

I will work to protect my gun rights by exercising them by carrying concealed and doing the most important thing I can do :

Keep voting for them.

Open Carry in Your Face is a lot like Openly Carrying On in Your Face . . . as in all the LGBTs who cannot comprehend the word ‘discrete’ and feel the need to make spectacles of themselves.

Insecurity transcends politics.

    tom swift in reply to clafoutis. | June 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    as in all the LGBTs who cannot comprehend the word ‘discrete’ and feel the need to make spectacles of themselves

    But, like it or not, that tactic seems to be working pretty well for them.

      “But, like it or not, that tactic seems to be working pretty well for them.”

      Utter misconception. That tactic HURT them.

      What WON gays popular support was NON-CONFRONTATIONAL gay behavior. Like 5 years of “Modern Family” where the gay couple are if anything a more stable family unit than the heteros on the show (at least one of which has experienced divorce).

      Same for other “gay centric” popular media of the last couple of decades.

      THAT’S what normalized homosexual relationships, and got them accepted. NOT “let me beat my pecker on your face.”

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Andrew, you seem to know what motivated every single individual in this country who changed their mind about homosexuality. I know you’re a really smart guy, but truly, tell me how did you achieve your mind reading powers?

        Are you really arguing that outlandish behavior doesn’t have some effect in inuring people?

Henry Hawkins | June 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Activists like these are not driven by 2A love so much as ego, similar to activists in other areas, like the over the top flamboyance of some in the LGBT crowd, the Westboro Church idiots, and so on.

Any objective self-measure would show they do their purported cause more harm than good, turn more people off than on to their stated goal, which exposes their purported cause to be a lie – they just like the attention for their own internal needs.

    tom swift in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Any objective self-measure would show they do their purported cause more harm than good

    That sounds promising. But as a mere assertion, it’s worthless. Perhaps you could name one of these objective self-measures. Nobody else seems to have managed so far. (No, ranting about how everybody but you is an “idiot” or is “driven by ego”, etc, won’t advance your thesis – if that’s all you have, consider saving yourself the effort of typing.)

      Henry Hawkins in reply to tom swift. | June 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      For one, they could read the NRA’s view on it and compare it to their own actions – an objective self-measure, that is measuring themselves against other gun rights supporters and their representative organizations.

      There are other ways to self-measure, all of them apparently invisible to you, but you asked for one.

      Having done this and/or other self-measures and finding themselves opposed on all sides and failing in their claimed goals, they might wonder why they do it anyways, since their stated goals aren’t happening. If their purported external goals aren’t being met, internal goals must be considered, hence the personal ego satisfaction motivation. They needn’t have had any insight into this prior to examination.

      Do we confuse you here? Yikes.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | June 2, 2014 at 9:12 pm

First, the Open Carry guys remind me of the Westboro Baptist Church crowd. The WBC has a right to spew hatred at the funerals of fallen soldiers, but when they exercise that right they are not persuading anybody. They’re just being provocative jerks for the sake of being provocative jerks.

Secondly, I have seen people try to make the argument that the intention of publicly carrying long guns is to inure public opinion toward guns. They think that seeing homosexuals publicly flaunt their sexuality moved public opinion their way, so why can’t it happen with guns? I don’t think that’s right for a couple of reasons. First, rightly or wrongly, the media view normalizing homosexuality as a civil rights issue. The media do not pursue stories that portray homosexuality in a negative light, only a positive light. The media do not see gun rights as a civil right. They see guns as a menace. The national media incessantly hype mass shootings when they occur because the elites in Washington and NYC want to turn public opinion against guns. So homosexuals have media in their corner and gun rights activists have the media against them. It’s just the way it is.

And the next time there’s a mass shooting, the media will hype it because that’s what they do. They may even attempt to link it to the Open Carry. For example, Newsbusters had a blog post in which one of the major national networks (I forget which one) dishonestly aired the hateful images of the Westboro Baptist Church protests during its reporting on the rallies for the Propositon 8 marriage amendment in California. After Newsbusters called the network out on it, they apologized via a press release. They did not apologize on air. The damage was done.

So the Open Carry crowd is never going to get a fair shake in the media. Ever. And that’s why I think their misguided strategy is doomed to fail. I just hope it does not backfire and the rights of the rest of us become infringed.

Akin to mom’s breast feeding in these locations…it’s polite to be discrete.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Andy. | June 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    It’s akin to Muslims coming into a place of business with full beards and burkas. Do they have a right to make a public display of their faith? Certainly. Would it, or can it, make some people in that place of business apprehensive? Arguably, yes (although not necessarily a reasonable apprehension). Would it be OK for the business to tell people “If you’re Muslim, you can’t come in here looking like Muslims.” Absolutely not! So why is it OK to exercise one right that frightens people and not another? If both the Muslims and the firearms-bearers are law-abiding people, neither present an actual threat, even though both may. Is this a sound basis to tell either group “stay out”? And if it’s OK to tell the firearms people “stay out,” why isn’t it OK to tell the Muslims the same? Both are doing nothing more than exercising their constitutionally-guaranteed rights, and while the public can react to both with unreasoning fear, that’s not the responsibility of either the Muslims or the gun-bearers, nor is it their responsibility to prevent such a reaction.

      “It’s akin to Muslims coming into a place of business with full beards and burkas.”


      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Shane in reply to DaveGinOly. | June 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      “Do they have a right to make a public display of their faith? Certainly.”

      “Would it be OK for the business to tell people “If you’re Muslim, you can’t come in here looking like Muslims.” Absolutely not!”

      There is nothing worse to me than a right leaning statist. You are as bad as the lefty gun grabbers. The correct answer to that question is: Not on my property. If I own a business and I don’t like Muslims guess what? Get off of my property. Does it make me a racist? Yep. Will I likely face backlash for it? Yep. But here is the point, it is my property and I will do with it as I see fit. The constitution protects me from some nanny statist, like you telling me that I have to serve someone that I don’t like.

      “… neither present an actual threat, …”

      This is my other favorite angle on this. Not an actual threat. How do you know that the person is Not an actual threat? What information did you use to determine this? If you saw some guy walking around on the naval base that you were on with a shotgun, how would you know that he is Not an actual threat? Do you have some special power, that allows you to 100% identify actual threats? You can read minds and know what someone is thinking so that you know right away that they are not an actual threat? This is fantasy. The way you determine if someone is an actual threat (and this is by no means fool proof) is you assess them in context and you observe their actions. Looking back from the future is not possible in this current moment and humans have to make decisions on the information of right now, not on information that comes way after right now has passed.

      “… and while the public can react to both with unreasoning fear, that’s not the responsibility of either the Muslims or the gun-bearers, nor is it their responsibility to prevent such a reaction.”

      Correct, but saying that their fear has no bearing is the sign of an immature man, a man who thinks that his actions MUST have no repercussions in the real world, a man who is sheltered from the consequences of his actions, in short a child. An adult man knows that his actions have consequences and deals with those consequences accordingly. An adult man puts himself in the shoes of others to see himself as others see him, not to conform to their views, but to understand the reasons for the consequences that he encounters.

So, we’re only supposed to exercise those rights that don’t upset anyone? Isn’t the whole idea of the protection of rights based on the presumption that the exercise of some rights will, at times, be found objectionable and will require defense? (Rights not found objectionable don’t require a defense.)

And why do people fear open carry? Because they’ve been conditioned to fear guns and not certain people. People who don’t even know you will step into a crosswalk in front of your moving vehicle, relying upon you to stop and not run them over. But if these same people see you with a gun, even if you’re a trusted and well-liked neighbor, they will flip out. They would trust you not to hit them when you’re driving a vehicle, why would they think you would shoot them just because you have a gun? They have an unreasonable reaction to the presence of firearms because they have been conditioned to fear them.

So I ask the NRA, and others who object to “open carry,” what right(s) will you surrendered when the public objects to their exercise? What is the meaning of having “rights” if they can’t be exercised because of public disapproval. What value do such rights have? What value do they lose? What right wouldn’t you give up due to public opinion?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to DaveGinOly. | June 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    “So, we’re only supposed to exercise those rights that don’t upset anyone?”

    Pure T strawman argument.

    Nobody is saying they don’t have the right to OC, ‘in your face’ or otherwise. What we’re saying is that doing so as an activist demonstration to support 2A rights, and doing it in the places they’ve chosen, is backfiring. It is causing anti-2A sentiment. It’s a stupid move, committed by stupid people.

    The 2A is under fire 24/7 forever, the anti-gun crowd is always at it. And they are losing. Do you read the news at all? The court cases? The repeals of anti-gun laws all over the country? The quickly improved crime stats wherever anti-gun law reversals are enacted?

    The only way to hurt the pro-2A winning streak is to have a bunch of morons running in and out of family restaurants spooking people.

    Do we need to make you look like a moron by listing all the rights you have and then asking why you haven’t exercised this or that one, and when you fail to provide a sensible answer, accuse you of not valuing that right?

    Are you an Obama supporteror are you against his polices? If against, you have a right to go to the White House and demonstrate against the Obama administration. Have you done this? WHY NOT! Aren’t you afraid you’ll lose that right??!!

    Morons. Everywhere morons.

Well, the NRA is already walking back on the statement they made earlier that condemned the blatant in-your-face carry tactics of these demonstrators…

The NRA withdrew its statement and apologizes.
claimed it was a “staffer writing their opinion”

My $0.02 is that the NRA was right on in it’s initial statement… i.e. that these chuckleheads making political statements by carrying AR firepower into restaurants are doing more harm than good to the 2A cause.

I’m sorry to see them walking back on this.

    Chem_Geek in reply to Twanger. | June 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Me too. I am disappointed that the NRA is backtracking; instead, that staffer should be promoted.