Open Carry Texas Plans Demonstration at GOP Convention, Shoots Back At NRA Over Criticism

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It was bound to happen, but the the GOP's provocative rhetoric on guns has finally backfired. Even the NRA has said the Open Carry Texas tactics are “downright scary,” “downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself.”

The TABC informed the GOP that over enthusiastic gun toters will not be allowed in the convention hall due to alcohol permits.

The open carrying of a long gun such as a rifle or shotgun is legal in Texas, but recently Moms Demand Action on Gun Sense has won several high profile battles against members of Open Carry Texas who demonstrated at popular chain restaurants, resulting in corporate bans on such displays.

Even after New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg pledged $50 million to help push back against the NRA, the carry-at-all-cost movement has proven to be its own biggest threat. And now it has even sparked a civil war of sorts between Open Carry Texas and the NRA over style and substance.

See what the Texas GOP Chairman has to say and Open Carry Texas' response to the NRA…Open Carry Texas shot back at the NRA for their disparaging comments writing:

The more the NRA continues to divide its members by attacking some aspects of gun rights instead of supporting all gun rights, the more support it will lose. Already, OCT members are posting pictures of themselves cutting up their life membership cards. If they do not retract their disgusting and disrespectful comments, OCT will have no choice but to withdraw its full support of the NRA and establish relationships with other gun rights organizations that fight for ALL gun rights, instead of just paying them lip service the way the NRA appears to be doing.

Open carry demonstrators plan to attend the Texas GOP convention in Fort Worth pushing for the party's delegates to adopt an open carry policy into its platform. Gubernatorial candidates for both major parties have stated their support for open carry, but only Greg Abbott has made it a central theme of his campaign. Abbott, along with Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Rand Paul will all speak at the convention on Friday and it will be interesting to see if they address the issue.

“We generally hire a couple of dozen police officers and other sergeants-at-arms,” Steve Munisteri GOP state Party Chairman said in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. “We will have plenty of security there, and we don't anticipate any problems.” So the GOP will have hired guns to protect themselves, even though they will have a militia's worth of armed patriots patrolling the area. According to their own talking points on guns, with the planned open carry demonstrations it should already be the safest place in Texas.

It just so happens that the Convention is in Tarrant County this year where that chapter of Open Carry Texas has made the headlines multiple times for high profile demonstrations that ended with the group being banned from private property at national chains including: Sonic, Chili's, Chipotle, and Jack in the Box. You can see a video of them getting kick out of Sonic here. That has prompted the state organization and allied groups to speak out for more constraint among its members.

A joint statement from Come and Take It Texas, Texas Carry, Gun Rights Across America and Open Carry Texas included:

“Looking back, it has become clear that there is one area in which we have gotten the most resistance and suffered the largest setbacks: open carry of long arms into private businesses.”

It also acknowledged that the real goal is to ultimately have open carry of handguns which is why they promote the use of “black powder pistols.” Because these type of handguns (antique but usually operational) are not covered under Texas' ban on visible handguns advocates use it a sort of loophole to openly carry handguns in public. To that point, this was tried already in preparation of the GOP convention and it was ruled that they would be allowed to be carried throughout the convention center.  

The open letter from the gun groups concluded with a list of 8 best practices including: notifying the police before a demonstration, displaying flags, carrying long guns on a sling instead of in one's arms, and not entering corporate businesses without an invitation.

It will be interesting to see with the GOP chickens coming home if the Party will still give them a place to roost.

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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