Texas state law allows the open carry of rifles, which the pro-gun group Open Carry Texas and its local chapters have been demonstrating at restaurants in the Lone Star state.
However, the public gatherings have backfired and resulted in gun bans by restaurants such as Sonic and Chili's.
Open Carry Texas and its affiliates have also publicly bullied gun control advocates and people who call 911 during the armed demonstrations.
During Memorial Day, members of Open Carry Tarrant County followed and harassed a former U.S. Marine in downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
The National Rifle Association's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, slammed Open Carry Texas last Friday on its website:
Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.
Let's not mince words, not only is it rare, it's downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.
"They might not like our methods, but our methods are working," CJ Grisham, the president of Open Carry Texas, told Mother Jones. "We're out there educating people on the street. We're showing them firsthand that you can see a gun out on the street or at a restaurant and it's not going to shoot you. I'm not going to let Open Carry Texas be beholden to anyone that doesn't get our mission."
Some NRA members have compared Open Carry Texas to the New Black Panthers, while Open Carry Texas has accused the NRA of siding with "ultra liberal gun control bullies" and the gun control group Moms Demand Action.
On Sunday, Open Carry Texas tweeted, "The NRA has lost its relevance and sided with the gun control extremists and their lapdog media."