Following public backlash after open-carry activists brought long arms into popular restaurants, four open-carry groups issued a directive to their members Wednesday asking them to halt the practice.
This follows a notable incident in a Texas Jack in the Box, and another at a Chipotle restaurant, in which gun-rights supporters legally carried rifles and shotguns into the establishments to exercise their Second Amendment rights, but drew fire from gun control groups and social commentators.
“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,” read a letter signed by the directors of Come and Take It Texas, Texas Carry, Gun Rights Across America and Open Carry Texas to their membership that was made public May 21.
The letter continued, “This resulted in places like Smashburger asking us to leave our guns at home. Since then, Starbucks, Wendy’s, Jack In The Box, Applebee’s and most recently, Chipotle have come out asking we not carry our firearms into their establishments.”
To mitigate further businesses establishing no firearms policies, the collection of groups issued the following marching orders:
“Whereas, our mission is to get open carry of handguns passed in Texas, we must once again adjust in a way that shines a positive light on our efforts, our members, and our respective organizations. We have decided the prudent path, to further our goals, is to immediately cease taking long guns into corporate businesses unless invited,” stated open-carry organizers.
The solution offered to open-carry activists in the Lone Star State by their respective leadership, since open carry of modern handguns is illegal, is to have a black-powder pistol or revolver carried in a holster. The reasoning behind this, explains the letter, is that the open carry of such arms in such a way would be hard to ‘spin’ into a negative story. If long guns are carried, it is recommended they be carried slung rather than held.
Further, activists are asked to carry banners, flags, and signs to advertise their activities as well as to be respectful if asked to leave a business.
“We must be willing and able to recognize what works and what doesn’t,” concluded the letter.
One of the principal and most vocal opponents of open carry movements is the Bloomberg-funded Moms Demand Action, who embarked on a full-blown campaign on social media to encourage first Jack in the Box and then Chipotle to clarify their stance on armed patrons.
In both of these cases, they were able to almost instantly declare victory when a perceived change was issued by the business.
Critics of the Moms’ success would argue that these companies have not outright banned firearms, but merely issued nonjudgmental pleas asking folks to keep their firearms at home.
However, even some in the gun community have questioned the tactics of these open-carry activists as being counterproductive, with one going so far as to say, “You guys aren’t helping us.”
Renowned speed-shooter Jerry Miculek posted in his Facebook page this week, “If anybody gets the idea to open carry at a business who has decided to take a neutral stance, please don’t. It just makes all of us look bad and gives fuel to gun grabbers.”
Within hours, his appeal received over 4,000 ‘likes.’
Meanwhile, the organization responsible for the recent Jack in the Box incident, Open Carry Tarrant County, does not plan to change their tactics.
“We are going to keep doing what has worked,” Open Carry Tarrant County representative Kory Watkin said Thursday.