Whataburger, a prominent Texas hamburger chain, has decided that it is bad for business to leave its customers frightened in a restaurant with someone openly carrying a gun. The decision is costing them the ire of Second Amendment enthusiasts, but they figure it's the best move.
Whataburger president and CEO Preston Atkinson said that too many employees and customers are "uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm."
Almost all of those people packing guns may have every right to carry that firearm openly in public, thanks to a new Texas law. But Whataburger recognizes that most people have no idea if that person may be the next rampaging shooter or not.
— hayescarll (@hayescarll) July 12, 2015
Atkinson said he is an avid hunter and has a concealed-carry license himself. He also said that customers with a valid concealed carry license will still be welcome in Whataburger. But the same Texas law that allows open carry also gives private property owners the right to turn away folks openly carrying.
Restaurant industry leaders in Texas expect that many other establishments will follow Whataburger's example and prohibit open carry in their businesses.
Open carry advocates say that Whataburger jumped the gun in making the announcement.
"I think most gun owners that know this policy are simply not going to go to Whataburger, like me," Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham said.
@Whataburger We'll see how long that lasts. Boycott Whatabuger. They don't respect the 2nd Amendment!
— SuberE (@usEbre) July 12, 2015
@Whataburger 's decision to override the law of the land is unsettling. Afraid I will have to boycott
— Rowing For O (@RickNYC) July 12, 2015
There's no way that gun-rights activists will successfully boycott @Whataburger. Ghandi couldn't even do it
— Bill Simpson (@BillSimpsonTX) July 13, 2015
Concerned parents' groups feel otherwise. Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America is one such group.
Stephanie Lundy, spokeswoman for the Texas chapter, said parents whose children work in restaurants "do not feel that part of their job description should involve assessing the intention of armed folks."
— Dab Aggin (@DabAggin) July 12, 2015