Nation & World Briefs 06-03-14 NRA calls Texas 'open carry' rallies 'downright weird'

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HOUSTON -- Companies, customers and others critical of Texas gun rights advocates who have brought military-style assault rifles into businesses as part of demonstrations supporting "open carry" gun rights now have a surprising ally: the National Rifle Association.

The advocates' actions in restaurants and other public places -- part of a push for less restrictive gun laws, including legalizing the open carry of handguns -- have prompted public criticism.

The NRA has long been a zealous advocate for gun owners' rights. But the group's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, has called the demonstrations counterproductive to promoting gun rights, scary and "downright weird."

The NRA said the demonstrations have "crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness."

"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," the NRA said in a statement posted on its website Friday.

The president and vice president of Open Carry Texas, one of the groups behind the recent demonstrations, did not return emails seeking comment late Monday.

But in a statement posted on its Facebook page, Open Carry Texas criticized the NRA, saying if the group doesn't retract its comments, Open Carry will have to withdraw its full support for the NRA.

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