HOUSTON, Tex. -

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

The NRA's lobbying arm has called the demonstrations counterproductive, scary and "downright weird."

Open Carry Texas, one of the groups behind the recent demonstrations, criticized the NRA's statement, saying if the group doesn't retract its comments, Open Carry will withdraw its full support for the NRA.

The NRA's statement last week comes after public criticism of a recent series of demonstrations in which various Texas gun groups went to restaurants and other businesses carrying long guns as part of a statewide push for less restrictive gun laws, including the legal open carry of handguns.