Just weeks after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed open carry legislation into law, a fast food chain based in the Lone Star State released a statement last week saying it wouldn’t allow its customers to openly carry firearms in its restaurants.
“I want you to know we proudly serve the gun rights community,” said Preston Atkinson, President and CEO of Whataburger. “I personally enjoy hunting and also have my concealed carry license, as do others at Whataburger.
“From a business standpoint, though, we have to think about how open carry impacts our 34,000+ employees and millions of customers. We serve customers from all walks of life at more than 780 locations, 24 hours a day, in 10 states and we’re known for a family friendly atmosphere that customers have come to expect from us. We’re the gathering spot for Little League teams, church groups and high school kids after football games.
“We’ve had many customers and employees tell us they’re uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement, and as a business, we have to listen and value that feedback in the same way we value yours. We have a responsibility to make sure everyone who walks into our restaurants feels comfortable. For that reason, we don’t restrict licensed concealed carry but do ask customers not to open carry in our restaurants.”
According to Guns.com, Whataburger has 780 locations across the South from Arizona to Florida.
The ban on open carry has drawn criticism from gun rights groups.
“They haven’t taken a stand for their customers; they’ve instead caved to the anti-gun crowd that wants nothing more than to achieve their aims by bullying corporate America,” CJ Grisham, president of Open Carry Texas, told Guns.com.
Moms Demand Action, which has previously targeted Kroger, Target, Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s, Jack in the Box and Starbucks for their gun policies, told Guns.com they were responsible for Whataburger’s ban on open carry.
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“Last year Whataburger answered the call of moms across Texas and throughout the country who urged the company to stand up for the safety of its loyal customers and dedicated employees by prohibiting the open carry of firearms in its restaurants—and today the company is standing strong in its commitment to public safety,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts said in a statement.
Read more: http://www.guns.com
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