The National Rifle Association, or NRA, has been under fire in recent years for what many gun control supporters feel is an unreasonable stance regarding America’s relationship with firearms.
But in their most recent statement, even the NRA has condemned the new gun debate concerning long guns and public spaces.
In recent weeks, a spate of national chains have been pulled into the gun debate after gun rights supporters — armed visibly with rifles and guns — have flocked to places such as Chipotle and Starbucks in order to make a visible statement against gun control.
Controversy ensued after store managers and ultimately the chains themselves were forced to weigh in on whether such legal weapons were allowed inside their spaces, considering the balance of angering gun rights supporters versus ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for all other patrons.
Ultimately, many chains have opted to side in favor of the latter, banning the open carry of large firearms within their outlets. And the NRA has spoken up in regard to this particular controversy — with a stance that is somewhat surprising.
In a statement, the National Rifle Association urged its members to cease precipitating such debates by inviting conflict, beginning:
“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.”
The NRA continues:
“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.”
Finally, the organization implores its members to consider the adverse affects such displays may have on gun rights advocacy, reminding members that Americans with mixed feelings on guns may be negatively swayed by the practice:
“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.”
Calling the demonstrations counterproductive, the NRA statement adds that “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.”
Read the full NRA statement here.
[Image: Creative Commons]