In a message to gun owners posted Friday, the NRA appealed to gun enthusiasts' common sense and asked, while reaffirming a commitment to Second Amendment liberties, that gun lovers think twice before descending upon restaurants while open-carrying weapons.
The practice is counterproductive and "downright weird," the NRA contended:
Recently, demonstrators have been showing up in various public places, including coffee shops and fast food restaurants, openly toting a variety of tactical long guns. Unlicensed open carry of handguns is legal in about half the U.S. states, and it is relatively common and uncontroversial in some places.
Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.
Let's not mince words, not only is it 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.
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.
Open carry advocates in Texas have made shows of force at Chipotle, Sonic and Chili's recently, which resulted in all three restaurant chains asking customers not to bring guns into their establishments — not to mention some negative media backlash.
"Firearm owners face enough challenges these days," the NRA message concludes. "We don't need to be victims of friendly fire."
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