Fast food chain Whataburger is denying customers the ability to open carry firearms on its premises, despite Texas law permitting such a practice.
The popular hamburger chain could be the target of backlash by gun owners both in Texas and in other states where restaurants are located.
A new Texas state law permits the open carry of firearms in public places. Whataburger, which has nearly 800 stores in 10 states, is already being subjected to potential boycotts due to the open carry denial to customers. Last month Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation which legalized the open carry of handguns in public spaces. The statute ended a post-Civil War era law which was reportedly passed in order to disarm freed slaves and former Confederate soldiers.
Whatabruger CEO Preston Atkinson stated that “many” of his fast food workers and customers are “uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm.” Gun rights activists countered such an argument by noting that Whataburger hamburger flippers and diners should be far more worried about criminals with a concealed weapon coming into the restaurant to rob the cash register or to settle some type of personal score.
The Whataburger official described himself as an “avid hunter with a concealed carry license.” Preston Atkinson also said that Whataburger customers with a concealed carry license will still be able to tote a firearm in such a manner. Arkinson did not state whether or not the fast food chain permits workers to exercise their Second Amendment rights and engaged in the concealed carry of a pistol while at work.
Texas Restaurant Association CEO Richie Jackson was not surprised about the Whataburger open carry policy. Jackson said that “gun rights do not trump property rights” when referencing the new Texas open carry law.
“It can’t be kept a secret,” Jackson added. “Given the number of units that they have in Texas, they just wanted to make it very clear as to where they were going to be, and I would expect to see a number of restaurants follow.”
Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham feels that the Whataburger open carry policy was both “premature and irresponsible. Grisham said the fast food caved and gave into “fear mongering.”
“I think most gun owners that know this policy are simply not going to go to Whataburger, like me,” Grisham added.
The group Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense successfully petitioned Sonic and Chili’s Grill & Bar to ban open carry in all of their restaurants as well.
What do you think about the Whataburger open carry policy and the new Texas gun law?
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