Whataburger Says No Open Carry Allowed in Restaurants
Texas-based Whataburger Restaurant has laid down the lawn to gun owners when it comes to open carry: don't do it here. Even though the Texas Legislature passed and Gov. Gregg Abbott signed into law legislation that permits open carry for concealed carry license holders, Whataburger Restaurants CEO says patrons will be asked not to open carry in their establishments.
Under the current law, in order to open carry, you must possess a valid concealed carry permit; however, individual businesses can disallow patrons from carrying at all by posting proper signage. Fox News 4 reports that Whataburger President and CEO Preston Atkinson sent down the ‘no open carry’ orders:
We've had many customers and employees tell us they're uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement and as a business, we have to listen and value that feedback in the same way we value yours.
Apparently a number of customers had expressed being uncomfortable being around anyone open carrying a firearm who was not a member of law enforcement. Open Carry Texas took to its Facebook page to decry the move by the restaurant chain:
What Whataburger is doing is caving to the brainwashing and social engineering that the anti-gun crowd has successfully worked to accomplish over the past few decades in their efforts to shame gun ownership and guns in public. The restaurant is caving to that mentality and essentially agreeing with this premise. The #gunsense lobby can't win in the legislature so they're intimidating, bullying and scaring businesses into basically stigmatizing law abiding citizens and perpetuating the public shaming.
Several concealed carry holders we spoke with say they wouldn’t likely opt to open carry in the first place. “I like the idea of having the element of surprise on my side”, John, a 42 year-old Wichita Falls resident said. It's likely most conceal carry holders will continue to carry concealed, at least in public.
For the record, it's always been legal to publicly carry long guns (shotguns, rifles, etc..,.) in Texas. And the open carry of a sidearm (handgun) has always been legal on ones own personal property or the property of someone else with the property owners consent.
Calls to local Whataburger management for comment have not yet been returned. The new open carry law takes effect January 1, 2016.