Armed members of the activist group Open-Carry Texas were recently asked to leave Sonic and Chili’s restaurants. Video footage of the incidents shows the group politely doing as they were told. Regardless of how the events transpired, the far left-of-center media outlet Mother Jones used it to push an anti-gun agenda.
“It would be an understatement to say that the tactics of gun rights activists have been backfiring of late,” Mother Jones’ Mark Follman reported. “The showdown has taken place foremost in Texas, where in recent months groups such as Open Carry Texas have conducted provocative demonstrations in which armed men exercise their right under state law to carry semi-automatic rifles in public.”
During the Chili’s incident, some customers were hostile towards the Open Carry members; one customer even called them “Texas retards.” The restaurant’s manager eventually told the activists that they would need to put their firearms outside if they wanted to be served.
Footage of the incidents at Sonic and Chili’s was put online by Open Carry Texas members, but subsequently taken down. During the time they were online, however, Mother Jones obtained the videos and re-posted them on May 27.
C.J. Grisham, President of Open Carry Texas, told Breitbart Texas, “Within a half an hour of those videos being up, they were pulled by Mother Jones. I think that the videos are good, in a sense, because they prove that we respect private property rights. It’s really that simple. But of course it’s being spun by the media as, ‘Look at these guys, they’re getting kicked out of places left and right.’ They’re saying we’re doing demonstrations at these restaurants, when really we’re just going to eat after an event.”
Mother Jones used the videos to convey the notion that Open Carry Texas regularly brings firearms into establishments where they are unwanted. But that’s not the case, according to Grisham. “We go to Sonic all the time and never have an issue. They love us there,” he said.
Regardless, Open Carry Texas recently asked its members to refrain from open-carrying in private businesses without first getting permission from a manager.
A recently released statement from the group said:
“For all further open carry walks with long guns, we are adopting the following unified protocol and general policy to best ensure meeting our respective legislative mission to legalize open carry: 1) Always notify local law enforcement prior to the walk, especially the day of; 2) Carry Flags and signs during your walk to increase awareness; 3) Carry the long gun on a sling, not held; 4) Do not go into corporate businesses without prior permission, preferably not at all; 5) If asked to leave, do so quietly and do not make it a problem; 6) Do not post pics publicly if you do get permission and are able to OC in a cooperate business; 7) Do not go into businesses with TABC signs posted with a long gun (Ever); 8) If at all possible, keep to local small businesses that are 2A friendly.”
“We tell our members if you’re asked to leave, leave,” Grishman added.
According to Mediaite, neither Sonic nor Chili’s have a clear-cut policy on open-carry on their establishments.
Ultimately, Grishman believes the media is using the videos to distract attention away from important issues in Texas.
“Our conversation has shifted,” he said. “The conversation is supposed to be about legalizing open-carry, but now its changed to whether people should carry rifles in businesses.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.