Open carry meets open resistance

As a result of negative reactions, more and more fast food places are telling their customers not to carry their guns openly into their stores. The list now includes Starbucks, Wendy’s, Applebees, Jack In The Box, Chipotle, Chili’s and Sonic. Some gun owners feel that these places are no longer safe to eat in because they are not allowed to take their guns into them, because of course no place is more dangerous than your neighborhood Wendy’s.

Though probably few if any patrons regularly worry about their personal safety as they order Bacon Ranch Quesadillas or double cheeseburgers and shakes, gun activists in both videos comment about the apparent danger of not allowing open carrying on the premises. One says he told his daughter, “It’s not safe to be here, we gotta go,” while another comments, “This Chili’s is no longer the safest Chili’s to eat at.”

What is interesting is that this exclusionary policy has not caused an uproar in the NRA with calls for boycotts to those business that do not support the Second Amendment but instead has caused some open-carry groups to pause and consider the possibility that carrying such weapons everywhere and then posting videos boasting about doing so may not be such a good way of gaining support.

Open Carry Texas and other gun groups, whose common goal is legalizing the open carrying of handguns in their state, evidently have concluded that none of this is helping their cause. On Friday, four of the groups released a joint statement asking supporters to retreat from such tactics. “We have decided the prudent path, to further our goals, is to immediately cease taking long guns into corporate businesses unless invited,” the statement said.

For open carrying going forward, their new “unified protocol and general policy” advises supporters to avoid corporate businesses altogether, and not to post pictures if they do get permission and decide to go in. “If at all possible,” it says, “keep to local small businesses that are 2A friendly.”

It remains to be seen whether the rank and file will stand down. As one Texas commentator focused on open carry noted about the move: “As expected there are those who object to this new policy because they feel it is a form of surrender.”

I shudder to think about the possibility that one day two different gun-toting groups will start shooting at each other in a crowded place because each one thinks that they are the good guys and the other are the bad guys. And then the police will arrive and starting shooting at both.


  1. kyoseki says

    Nobody’s going to do any shooting because these guys are really just attention whores.

    While ostensibly the idea is to educate people that open carry is legal, all it ends up doing is scaring those who don’t know about it and causing businesses to tell individuals that they’re no longer welcome.

    In the worst cases, such as in California, it actually gets the practice banned by law.

  2. lochaber says

    I don’t quite get the open-carry bit. I’d actually rather people carry concealed, and kept it to themselves. Open carry strikes me as someone showing they have more capacity for physical violence then another, and they are willing to kill someone to settle a conflict.

    And the folk who want to take guns into bars, well they really scare me. If one is concerned about physical safety/being attacked, the best thing to do is probably not get drunk.

  3. kyoseki says

    I’m not particularly worried about guns in bars any more or less than I’m worried that bars have parking lots.

    Open carry is fine in the middle of nowhere, I know guys who carry out doing off road runs in the desert because it’s not uncommon to run across meth labs, but it’s not something that should be encouraged in a city.

    .. and yes, I’m ok with concealed carry, but only if the carrier has had extensive training, otherwise they’re no use to anyone.

  4. stephenyutzy says

    I also have no particular issue with open carry, but these particular individuals (in the Chipotle “incident”) broke the cardinal rule of carrying a gun: don’t be a jerk. They dressed like slobs and carried the biggest attention-grabbing guns they could. Is it their right? Absolutely. Is it an effective tactic to “re-normalize” guns? Nope, because people get scared and the gun control groups get a PR victory. Most people don’t even notice pistols carried openly, but through some reason that’s illegal in Texas.

    The most interesting thing about these restaurant stories is the parallels to other recent civil rights battles. Some people are essentially doing their best “we’re here, we’re armed, get over it”, and the restaurants react by essentially implementing “don’t ask don’t tell” for guns.

    The mistake many gun rights advocates made at first, and some are still making, is assuming that places like Starbucks are an ally to the cause. They’re not, they just want to sell coffee to as many people as possible. Which is why they haven’t actually banned guns, they just politely asked customers to keep them out. In Ohio at least they must post a sign, and neither Starbucks nor Chipotle have.

  5. A Hermit says

    I don’t think I’ve ever been worried that weren’t enough strangers with guns around….quite the opposite in fact.

  6. Jean says

    Watching all of the US gun advocates actions (and those who tolerate it) from Canada seems totally surreal. I much prefer a place like here where anyone with a gun is a bad guy or the police (with a few very rare exceptions). It is much safer and the statistics confirm it.

  7. twosheds1 says

    A commented elsewhere said that open carry was a “natural right to protect one’s property” as if a cheeseburger were one’s property. I countered saying that it is a property owner’s right (or their agents, like the manager of a restaurant) to decide what is allowed to be brought onto restaurant property.

  8. Trebuchet says

    Some gun owners feel that these places are no longer safe to eat in because they are not allowed to take their guns into them, because of course no place is more dangerous than your neighborhood Wendy’s.

    I won’t argue that Wendy’s (and its ilk) are not dangerous places, but I’m not sure you can do anything about trans-fats by shooting them.

  9. says

    The gun nuts say they want “personal freedom” for themselves, but under false premises.

    Then they whine because business owners want personal freedom on their business premises.

    Open carry is a stupid idea, but even stupider are its advocates who can’t grasp that private businesses are not public places.

  10. smrnda says

    Illinois recently permitted concealed carry, and most businesses in my area have big NO GUNS signs on the doors now. In fact, that’s helping me know where not to go.

    All said, if they want to make open carry advocates look like belligerent thugs who don’t care about how unhinged and dangerous they seem to others, they’re doing a great job.

  11. readysf says

    Really incredible that anyone would want to carry gun openly into a store. What does it do for them, even if they feel it is a “right”? Sounds like psychological counseling would be in order….

  12. Curt Cameron says

    Some friends of mine with two kids had gone for dinner at Spring Creek Barbecue here in the Dallas area, when a group of men carrying rifles walked in. This was probably about three weeks ago. My friends left without eating, and they said the manager had come over to talk to the group, but they didn’t stick around to see the outcome.

    I had no idea this was a thing.

    As far as I’m aware, it’s illegal to take firearms into a place that serves alcohol. Chili’s and Spring Creek both serve alcohol.

  13. kyoseki says

    As far as I’m aware, it’s illegal to take firearms into a place that serves alcohol. Chili’s and Spring Creek both serve alcohol.

    Depends on the state, in Texas, it’s illegal to carry a firearm into a place that derives most of it’s revenue from alcohol (ie. a bar) but not a place that makes most of it’s revenue from food but also serves alcohol (ie. a restaurant).

    I don’t see that it’s really a big deal, being drunk in possession of a gun is illegal everywhere, but insofar as simply carrying in these places, I don’t see that it’s any different to driving.

    You can drive to a bar, but it’s only illegal to get drunk & drive home.

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