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Booze Rules Bar Open Carry Gun Groups from Texas Republican Convention

Twitter user @SocialMatchbox and David Yoakum/Twitter user @davidb00ts
Open carry supporters won't be able to bring their guns into the Texas GOP convention.

Texas Republicans have been vocal supporters of expanding gun rights in Texas. So groups pushing for laws that would expand the ability to carry firearms openly expected to be welcomed at this week's state GOP convention in Fort Worth. But the Texas GOP says the guns, themselves, will have to stay out.

Texas GOP chairman Steve Munisteri wants the groups to know they are certainly welcome to attend the Republican convention, but their guns will have to remain outside because alcohol is served at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's Carolyn Beck says the rules for a TABC license clearly state an establishment cannot allow open carry rifles on site. The agency has been trying to get that word out since last year, when open carry groups announced they would start making trips to Wal-Marts across the state. Beck says as more businesses have been confronted with customers carrying guns openly, it's been easier to remind them what the rules are.

"So, I think what we're seeing is kind of a peak of interest and excitement and photos and tweets and discussion," Beck says. "I think we're gonna see a lull after this as people understand what the law is and stop allowing it."

Corporate offices for Chili's, Sonic and Chipotle recently asked customers toleave their guns outside. If Chili's and Chipotle had not banned long guns, the TABC could have revoked their beverage licenses.

In an article to supporters, the lobbying arm of the NRA scolded Texans who have been walking into restaurants in groups with assault rifles slung across their chests.

"Now we love AR-15s and AKs as much as anybody," wrote the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, but the group says these efforts are counterproductive.

As a result of these hijinks, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises. In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that's counterproductive for the gun owning community. More to the point, it's just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. 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.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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