Apparently some open carry supporters brought semi-automatic rifles into one of their restaurants in Texas. The Mexican food chain called the rifles “military style”, and even though what the gun owners did was perfectly legal and did not hurt anyone, Chipotle is now afraid that guns will scare their customers.
Shortly after the open carry demonstration anti-gun group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in American put the pressure on Chipotle for the company to ban guns from their establishments.
“Moms want to know that when we take our families out to eat burritos, we won’t be confronted with bullets,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots activism network she formed in the wake of the Newtown murders that is now under the umbrella of Bloomberg’s $50 million Everytown movement.
“We support the Second Amendment but we also need to feel safe and secure in the places we take our children. In states where no background checks or training are required to buy semi-automatic rifles and carry them openly in public, businesses have a duty to protect their employees and patrons. That’s why we are calling on Chipotle and other businesses to follow StarbucksSBUX +0.1%’ lead and make a clear statement that firearms are not welcome in their restaurants.”
Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham told Forbes that this past weekend’s activity was not a demonstration, but simply a meal following an event.
“We don’t go there just to carry guns into a restaurant,” he said. “We always let the manager know we’re coming. We try very hard to make people feel comfortable.”
Grisham said his group’s policy is to send an unarmed person into a restaurant to seek permission to dine and to warn staff and customers in advance.
“We’re peaceful, we’re looking for a place to eat, but we have guns,” he said. “If we’re not welcome, we’re not going to spend money there.”
Below is the statement that Chiptole has released to ask all gun owners to leave their guns at home:
“The issue of gun ownership or gun rights has become one of the most contentious debates in the country. Chipotle has never taken a position on this issue, as we focus instead on our mission to change the way people think about and eat fast food.
Recently participants from an “open carry” demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort. Because of this, we are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
Historically, we felt it enough to simply comply with local laws regarding the open or concealed carrying of firearms, because we believe that it is not fair to put our team members in the uncomfortable position of asking that customers refrain from bringing guns into our restaurants. However, because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers, we think it is time to make this request.
We acknowledge that there are strong arguments on both sides of this issue. We have seen those differing positions expressed in the wake of this event in Texas, where pro-gun customers have contacted us to applaud our support of the Second Amendment, and anti-gun customers have expressed concern over the visible display of military-style assault rifles in restaurants where families are eating. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request. And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.”
Does anyone really think that someone who wants to do harm with a firearm will be deterred by a letter that asks them to leave their guns at home? On the other hand, now there will not be the good guy with a gun to stop the bad guy with the gun at Chipotle restaurants. Why? Because those good guys will be eating at other restaurants that actually allow them to protect themselves and those around them.
We recently reported that days after Jack in the Box asked their customers to leave their guns at home a shooting took place in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box. Criminals don’t obey gun laws and they certainly aren’t going to obey a company policy.
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