On Monday, an NRA blog post went after pro-gun advocates in Texas for showing up en masse to Chipotle and Wendy's with assault rifles. The post, while stressing that it shouldn't be illegal to carry a gun wherever one chooses, pointed out that something that isn't illegal can still be a bad idea — and that maybe, bringing a rifle to lunch might fall into that second category. "It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable," the author wrote. The post also called the rallies "downright weird" and called on the Texas activists to think harder about what their neighbors felt.
Apparently, the NRA does not actually endorse the notion that Texans, or anyone, should think twice before bringing their rifles to lunch. The executive director of the NRA's legislative arm (on whose site the post first appeared) said on an NRA radio show on Tuesday that the post just reflected one staffer's opinion, not the whole of the organization. Furthermore, he said, the NRA — or at least its lobbying arm — shouldn't even be in the business of telling gun owners what is and isn't a good idea. "Our job is not to criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners. Our job is to effectuate policy change that expands and protects our members' right to self defense."
It's interesting that he sees the role of the NRA's lobbying arm that way, since the NRA as a whole has made a big deal out of its work promoting responsible gun ownership — precisely to refute accusations that it's just a pro-gun lobby. They have an entire Education and Training Division for this, in fact. And the timing of the controversy is especially ironic: this time last year, the blog of the main NRA website was giving its readers a refresher on the NRA's gun safety rules — in honor of the month of June, which is National Safety Month.