Officials with Open Carry Texas confirm they will have a large number of members carrying their long rifles and gunpowder pistols openly during the Texas GOP convention this week in Fort Worth. But the announcement falls on the heels of criticism from the National Rifle Association about some of the group’s tactics.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri said it comes as no surprise that many participants at the convention would be “packing heat,” but there are some rules Open Carry Texas will have to adhere to.
"They will not have them inside the convention hall -- in terms of the long rifles -- because we’ve been informed by the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) that establishments that have a TABC license, it’s not legal to allow in any long rifles,” Munisteri said.
Munisteri said the group is advocating the party add a plank to its platform supporting open-carry rights.
Last week the NRA took issue with some of the tactics used by Open Carry Texas. In a blog post titled Good Citizens and Good Neighbors: The Gun Owner's Role, the NRA said the group had crossed the line "from enthusiasm to downright foolishness" with demonstrations at family restaurants and businesses.
Alice Tripp with the state branch of the NRA, the Texas State Rifle Association, said the message being presented by Open Carry Texas is lost and is in bad taste.
“It’s causing confusion," Tripp said. "It’s not getting their message across and it’s making the rest of us explain someone else’s bad manners.”
Tripp said instead of getting places to change their gun policies in support of open carry, just the opposite is happening for Open Carry Texas. Tripp pointed to the number of businesses that have changed their policies to become a gun-free zones, barring the carry of long-rifles and black powder pistols, but not concealed carry.