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Should Open Carry Texas Change Their Tactics? [POLL]

Scott Olson, Getty Images

The group Open Carry Texas has been feeling the heat lately. Over the last few weeks the organization has staged rallies at restaurants in Texas where they attempt to carry rifles and other long guns into the places of business. The group has been criticized from the left and the right. Over the weekend the State GOP Convention released a statement saying that long guns would not be permitted inside the State Republican Convention in Ft. Worth. Monday, the NRA released a statement according to the San Antonio Express News.

The growing grassroots Second Amendment organization has gained national attention with rallies across Texas, including last year at the Alamo, where members openly tote long guns, including semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15. Open Carry Texas chapters have published several videos online in which they walk into restaurants, most recently the two San Antonio establishments, with semi-automatic rifles strapped to their backs, seemingly to test the response of management.

The NRA on Friday called the Texas group’s open carry displays in restaurants “weird,” “scary,” “counter-productive” and “downright foolishness” in a blog post on the NRA’s Legislative Action website. Chili’s and Sonic issued statements Friday requesting that patrons not openly carry firearms in their restaurants in response to the incidents.

“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’s lobbying arm wrote. “That’s not the Texas way. And that’s certainly not the NRA way.”

The two videos from the San Antonio chapter of Open Carry Texas were published to YouTube about two weeks ago and removed less than an hour later “because the images could easily be misinterpreted,” the group’s president, C.J. Grisham, said.

One shows a group of eight men carrying long guns into a Chili’s and asking for a table but being asked to leave by a manager and a confrontation with a female patron who said “there are children here.” A similar visit to Sonic ended with the group being asked to leave the patio area. Both videos were re-uploaded by left-leaning publication Mother Jones after they were deleted by the group.

Following the videos, Grisham, an Army master sergeant who lives in Temple, asked members to stop publicizing unexpected open carry displays at businesses.

Open Carry Texas responded to the NRA’s criticism on its Facebook page.

“The NRA has lost its relevance and sided with #guncontrolextremists and their lapdog media,” the group’s Facebook post said. “No one in NRA leadership has ever been to an (Open Carry Texas) event, but feels competent to speak out against them.”

What do you think about all this? Should Open Carry Texas stop their tactics? Are they doing more harm than good?

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