Well, that was quick.
Last month, a group of pro-gun activists decided to protest one of Texas’ gun laws by showing up at various businesses carrying assault rifles and other long guns. This and similar protests set off a cascade of companies asking their customers to please leave their weapons at home. In one of the most widely reported examples, the restaurant chain Chipotle released a statement saying that “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”
For a brief moment, even the National Rifle Association opposed these gun-totting protesters. In an article posted on their website last Friday, the NRA’s lobbying arm said that bringing long guns into public businesses is “downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself.” Indeed, the NRA seemed to empathize with Chipotle’s customers, adding that “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,” conspicuously displaying guns in a public place “can be downright scary.”
In an interview with one of the NRA’s in-house news hosts on Tuesday, Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist apologized for his organization’s brief moment of empathy. “Our policy is that we support open carry,” Cox emphasized, adding that “we apologize for any confusion” that the NRA’s article labeling the gun protesters “weird” and “scary” caused.
Indeed, Cox blamed his organization’s brief break with the Texas gun activists on a rogue staffer, explaining that he had “a discussion with the staffer who wrote that piece.”