The National Rifle Association has walked back its apology for the actions of pro-gun activists who carry loaded assault weapons in public places to protest gun restrictions, with a top official calling a previous critique of so-called open carriers "a mistake."
In a series of Open Carry demonstrations in the Dallas area in recent months, activists have carried weapons into restaurants and in public, sparking a backlash from customers and restaurant chains like Chili's and Sonic, which have prohibited open carry in their franchises.
The NRA issued a statement last week applauding the "robust gun culture" in Texas but adding that some open carriers had "crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness."
But in an interview on NRA's radio show Cam & Company, the group's top lobbyist Chris Cox walked the statement back, highlighting the sometimes uneasy relationship between the group's core lobbyists and less inhibited activists.
"The National Rifle Association unapologetically and unflinchingly supports the right of self-defense and what that means is that our members and our supporters have a right to carry a firearm in any place they have a legal right to be. If that means open carry, we support open carry," he said. The NRA "apologize[s] again for any confusion that that post caused."