In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed a law that allows people with legal licenses to carry handguns in plain sight. This law is now known as the “open carry” law and will go into effect in January. Already, a restaurant chain in Texas has banned visible firearms from its properties, and experts say other local business will soon follow.
Currently, five states plus Washington, D.C. ban open carry firearms on public places. Along with that, businesses can issue their own no-gun policies. A Huffington Post poll in 2014 sheds light on how people feel about firearms in restaurants and shops. 55 percent of Americans do not want shops and restaurants to permit guns.
Over the past few years, many businesses across the United States have asked their customers to refrain from openly carrying firearms on their premises. Some small and large business have even banned their customers from carrying concealed guns altogether. Below are a few businesses that have said no more to the new open carry laws:
A month after the open carry laws were announced to take place, a Texas chain restaurant, Whataburger, asked its customers to refrain from openly carrying firearms in their locations. The president and CEO of Whataburger, Preston Atkinson, affirmed his company’s loyalty to the gun rights community. But he said that customers have expressed many concerns over visible firearms in restaurants as a whole and that he does not want open carry in his restaurants as well.
The chain Mexican Grill, Chipotle, said to its customers in 2014 to refrain from bringing firearms into its stores. This decision came after a group of open carry activists went into a Dallas Chipotle with military-assault rifles. The gun-control advocacy group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, started a petition to get Chipotle to ban its customers from openly carrying firearms in its stores to which the company complied.
After seeing what happened with Chipotle, Panera took to the same action and asked that their customers not bring in guns to their restaurant locations. Their official company statement spoke about the “Panera Warmth” from their bakery to their customer service and stated that bringing guns into the mix would harm that comfortable and welcoming mix.
Back in 2013, Starbucks was one of the first chain restaurants to take a stand for gun control. An open letter to the public written by CEO Howard Schultz asked the customers of Starbucks to leave their firearms at home.