Above, an image from the Open Carry demonstration that took place within Chipotle.
UPDATE: Chipotle released a statement Monday afternoon indicating it is now asking customers to leave their guns behind before entering one of its locations. Read the entire statement below:
The issue of gun ownership or gun rights has become one of the most contentious debates in the country. Chipotle has never taken a position on this issue, as we focus instead on our mission to change the way people think about and eat fast food.
Recently participants from an “open carry” demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort. Because of this, we are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
Historically, we felt it enough to simply comply with local laws regarding the open or concealed carrying of firearms, because we believe that it is not fair to put our team members in the uncomfortable position of asking that customers refrain from bringing guns into our restaurants. However, because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers, we think it is time to make this request.
We acknowledge that there are strong arguments on both sides of this issue. We have seen those differing positions expressed in the wake of this event in Texas, where pro-gun customers have contacted us to applaud our support of the Second Amendment, and anti-gun customers have expressed concern over the visible display of military-style assault rifles in restaurants where families are eating. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request. And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.
A rapidly rising star among the nation’s higher-end fast food establishments, Chipotle is a popular destination for urbanites in the mood for some casual Mexican fare. The chain is now under fire from the Michael Bloomberg-supported gun-grabbing organization “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.”
It seems a pro-Second Amendment Texas group planned an outing to a Dallas Chipotle restaurant, during which they carried firearms. When photos of the event surfaced online, leftist activists reacted swiftly. “Moms Demand Action” founder Shannon Watts explained she wants the chain to adopt prohibitive gun rules that would ensure law-abiding citizens are sitting ducks in the event of an armed robbery or other violent attack.
C.J. Grisham, founder of Open Carry Texas, explained the trip was not intended to be a statement about gun rights, explaining members simply decided to grab a bite after a meeting.
“We don’t go there just to carry guns into a restaurant,” he added. “We always let the manager know we’re coming. We try very hard to make people feel comfortable.”
“Moms want to know that when we take our families out to eat burritos, we won’t be confronted with bullets,” she said, apparently equating the mere presence of a firearm with deadly projectiles whizzing through the air.
Of course, as Dr. Suzanna Hupp recalls the vicious shooting at a Luby’s restaurant nearly 23 years ago, she recognizes that she could have potentially prevented the rampage that left 23 dead – including her parents – had she not followed the rules and left her gun in the car.
Watts, on the other hand, is using her position – along with the infusion of cash by Bloomberg’s anti-gun crusade – to make it easier for future acts of gun violence to take place.
“We support the Second Amendment,” she claimed, “but we also need to feel safe and secure in the places we take our children.”
The advertised absence of legal guns, however, serves to make millions of American families feel decidedly less safe.
According to Watts, the group is calling on Chipotle to halt its current firearm policy, which simply looks to state law for guidance, and instead “follow Starbucks’ lead and make a clear statement that firearms are not welcome in their restaurants.”
Photo Credit: proshob (Creative Commons)