The Texas-based fast food chain Whataburger will not be allowing customers to openly display firearms in their restaurants. The company announced that even though open carry may be legal, the practice is against company policy. The law gives businesses the right to regulate if and how weapons are allowed on their property.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Texas joined 44 other states when it legalized a form of open carry in the state. The new law allows licensed individuals to openly display their holstered firearm in public. Governor Greg Abbott was thrilled to sign the open carry law, saying that it increased Texans’ rights.
Texas’ open carry law doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2016, and still requires citizens to obtain a concealed carry permit.
“By signing these bills into law, Texans can be assured that their Second Amendment rights will be stronger and more secure than ever before.”
The CEO of Whataburger, Preston Atkinson, said in a post on the company’s website that customers are not permitted to openly carry their firearms in Whataburger locations. Atkinson said that the company has, for some time, prohibited the open display of firearms. He also went on to say that he himself has a concealed carry permit.
“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.”
Atkinson said that the company respects American’s Second Amendment rights and still allows for the concealed carry of firearms in its stores.
As UPI noted, Texas Tech University law professor Eric Chiappanelli said that the policy is aimed at increasing the amount of customers the business serves.
“Lots of companies, big and small, public and private, have made the same decision Whataburger has made, and for the same reason. It’s an assessment by each company of what will increase sales from its core customers.”
Gun-rights advocates, as Yahoo News reported, are not happy with the policy. Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham said that many gun-rights advocates are likely to avoid the fast food chain altogether.
“I think most gun owners that know this policy are simply not going to go to Whataburger, like me.”
While gun-rights groups may not be happy with Whataburger, gun-control groups like Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America have praised the company for its stance. The spokeswoman for the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action, Stephanie Lundy, called Whataburger’s policy common sense.
[Photo via Whataburger]