An incident last week in a Mexican fast food restaurant in Dallas has sparked a national chain to take a stand on guns in its restaurants.
Several members of Open Carry Texas brought their assault rifles with them into a Chipotle restaurant, inducing a sense of fear and anxiety in many customers. Following the publication of a photo of this on Facebook, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense circulated a “Burritos, Not Bullets” petition calling on the chain to ban guns from their stores, the Washington Post reported.
— Shannon (@shannonrwatts) May 19, 2014
The Michael Bloomberg-backed gun control group said it was a matter of public safety. “Moms want to know that when we take our families to eat burritos, we won’t be confronted with bullets,” contended Sharon Watts, who founded the network after the Newtown massacre and lists itself under the Bloomberg Everytown umbrella.
However, Open Carry Texas spokesman C. J. Grisham told Forbes magazine that the meeting at Chipotle’s was only a meal after the 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.”
He added that the group sends a scout into the restaurant as a matter of policy, to let the staff and customers know they carry guns, and if they’re not welcome they won’t come in.
Chipotle’s restaurants have historically followed state laws, but this national publicity put the spotlight on headquarters. The Denver-based franchise responded by saying they understood the issue was contentious, and in consideration of all concerned, requested that customers not bring guns inside the premises, unless they were law enforcement personnel.
Similar to the Starbuck’s policy, Chipotle’s did not want to put their employees and managers between the hammer and the anvil, “and their restaurants used as a platform for either side of the debate,” the Post reported.
So they opted for the request formulation, rather than an outright ban. Chipotle stated they understood the strong sentiments on both sides of the gun-carrying issue, and felt that ultimate public policy should emanate from state legislatures and elected officials. They bent with the breeze, but didn’t break.
Twitter was loaded with opinions from both sides:
— Aaron Worthing (@AaronWorthing) May 18, 2014
— Shannon (@shannonrwatts) May 17, 2014
— Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) May 18, 2014
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