This week in gun control news
Chipotle announced this week that it it does not want firearms brought into its stores following an incident where gun rights advocates carried military-style assault rifles into one of its branches in Texas.
In a statement on Monday the company said that, “The display of firearms in our restaurant has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.” The Denver-based company also noted that is has always complied with local gun laws pertaining to open and concealed carry in the past.
Last weekend, it was reported that open-carry gun activists came into a Chipotle in the Dallas area, prompting Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to file a petition calling for other companies to to ban firearms in their stores.
Here’s what Mom’s Demand Action tweeted:
— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) May 19, 2014
Chipotle also said in its statement that it hoped opposition groups from both sides would understand that “there are strong arguments on both sides of the issue…it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area.”
There has been no definitive statement by Chipotle as to whether their announcement will be a policy-enforced ban on firearms or how it would respond to people who continue to carry in its restaurants. At the state level, there are many allowances for licensed gun owners to carry in public, but businesses are permitted to exercise the right to ban firearms.
Check out state laws that restrict gun ownership:
Gun rights advocates have remained mum on these developments. Perhaps because it would appear that an individual’s Second Amendment rights do not apply in this particular situation. Laws regarding concealed or open carry weapons apply to public spaces only. In this case, Chipotle is a business operating on private property and thus reserves the right to request that weapons not be brought into their stores (with the exemption of law enforcement).
However, to ban concealed weapons from a place of business in Texas (again, which Chipotle has not yet done), a business must present a written document that states the following:
“Pursuant to section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411 Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun;”
Or post a sign on the property that:
1. Includes the above language in both English and Spanish;
2. Appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and
3. Is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.
Note the verbiage of “handgun.” Chipotle has a good track record of complying with local gun laws so we will have to wait to see if this is merely a request or will in effect become a ban. Regardless, the situation which prompted the statement had to do with an assault rifle.
No matter where you stand on gun rights, the Second Amendment, open or concealed carry, with all the mass shootings featured prominently in the media lately, a lot of people are going to assume that anyone who walks into a business with an assault rifle is there to do harm. Even as a form of protest it could cause a lethal situation. How many bystanders who might happen to be carrying a handgun are going to take the time to approach the person and politely ask if they are there for a burrito or to blow some people away?
Just a quick disclaimer, I own an AR-15 and have never felt the need to carry it with me to the taqueria or the mall. And to be honest if I saw someone carrying one in a family restaurant, even a plain-clothes police officer, I would feel uncomfortable. If people familiar with firearms are uncomfortable with assault rifle in public, then how would the teenager on the grill or the cash register feel when he or she sees one strapped to a customer? In this case, it would appear Chipotle has no political motive or is bowing down to leftist lobbies like Moms Demand Action, they are just practicing good business.
Granted, gun control has become overbearing, but carrying assault rifles in a burrito joint as a form of protest only hampers the cause. If you want the public, and those who haven’t been around firearms to be more accepting, carry a holstered pistol, or form an open carry group, have your AR forms and perform a public service while carrying, clean a highway, scrub some graffiti, be constructive. Walking into a restaurant or cafe for tacos or coffee does nothing but cause a scene and provoke an over-the-top media reaction. While you can’t control the message, you can take steps to make that message a positive one.