'Open Carry Texas' President: 'I'm Leaving the NRA'
HOUSTON, Texas--Armed members of the activist group Open Carry Texas (OCT) were asked to leave Sonic and Chili’s restaurants last month after they entered with AK-47's in full display. In response to footage of the events, which received national press coverage, the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) released a statement on May 30 calling the demonstrations "downright weird" and "counter productive for the gun owning community." Now Texas gun group members are threatening to leave the NRA.
"I'm leaving the NRA," C.J. Grisham, President of OCT, told Breitbart Texas. "I'm an Endowment Life Member which is two levels above Life Member--I'm tearing up the cards and certificates I've gotten from the NRA."
Grisham said that several other open-carry groups in Texas have also threatened to leave the NRA due to its recent statement, part of which said:
"As a result of these hijinx, ...popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises. 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.
"...It's just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. Using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners. That's not the Texas way. And that's certainly not the NRA way."
Weeks before the NRA's statement, OCT realized a need to change its policies due to backlash from the released videos. The group--along with Come and Take it Texas, Texas Carry, and Gun Rights Across America--asked its members in a May 23 joint statement to refrain from open-carrying in private businesses without first getting permission from a manager.
"The NRA criticized us for something we already fixed," Grisham said. "They seized the opportunity to call us names and to attack us. But when they attack us, they attack their own members. Many of our members, including myself, are NRA members."
He said that since the NRA's statement was released, he's received numerous donations and messages from individuals who stand by OCT.
Grisham said he will collect pieces of ripped up NRA cards and certificates, and send it to the organization to "send a message."
"Everything the NRA said in that letter is absolutely false," he said. "We don't scare people. The only people who are 'scared' from our experience on the ground is the gun control extremists who would be scared if you held a pop tart shaped like a gun."
Grisham concluded, "If the NRA is going to attack organizations that are fighting for gun rights on the front line, I want nothing to do with them. They don't get to dictate how we exercise our rights. We've accomplished more for open carry rights than the NRA ever has. We are actively doing something. We're not just talking, we're not just writing about it--we're actively doing something to get the public engaged. And on the state level, it's working. Everyone who comes in contact with us knows who we are and what we're doing."
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.