The Texas burger restaurant Whataburger will not allow the open carry of guns on its restaurant properties — and other Texas restaurants are expected to follow suit.
“Whataburger — with some 780 locations in 10 states — has drawn a mix of praise and rebuke since making the announcement this month, including a prediction of boycotts from one of the state’s leading advocates for gun rights.”
Whataburger CEO Preston Atkinson said in a letter that employees and customers are “uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm.” The CEO went on to describe “himself as an avid hunter with a concealed-carry license and noted that patrons licensed to carry concealed handguns will still be able to do so in Whataburger.”
One thing that makes people less uncomfortable around guns is being around guns.
Atkinson’s letter comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that made it legal to carry a firearm openly in Texas.
The law, which gives private property owners the right to prohibit open carry, was hailed as a victory for gun rights advocates who have staged high-profile rallies at the Alamo and Texas Capitol over the past couple of years. Some even brought military-style assault rifles into businesses as part of their demonstrations, prompting the Chipotle restaurant chain to discourage firearms on their premises.
Texas Restaurant Association CEO Richie Jackson is not surprised by Whataburger’s announcement, saying that “gun rights do not trump property rights.”
“It can’t be kept a secret,” he said. “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.”
Moms Demand Action put out a statement, of course, applauding Whataburger’s decision. The “mom” gun grabbers have successfully petitioned other chains (Sonic and Chili’s) to disallow firearms.
The customers are mixed on the decision.
Outside a Whataburger in San Antonio, Charlie Hair said he would feel safer if the chain allowed customers to openly carry firearms. “I prefer an armed society to an unarmed one,” he said as he exited with his 8-year-old son.”
And then there is this lady…
But Mary Jones, who was with her 15-year-old grandson, said she was happy that Whataburger took a stand against open carry.
“Why do you need to bring a gun into a store where there are kids?” she asked. “We are not in the Wild, Wild West.”
First of all, there are probably guns already in possession of customers, they just aren’t visible. Second, the guns, whether concealed or revealed, do not fire themselves. The possessor needs to pull the trigger for the gun to fire, so really what’s the difference? Are we to believe a visible gun is more likely to be fired merely because it’s visible? People are uncomfortable around guns because they aren’t acclimated to them.
On the other hand I respect property rights, so if these restaurants don’t want guns on their premises, they are entitled to that. The market usually decides whether these kinds of decisions are smart or not.