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When I started TTAG back in February, I was behind the firearms news curve. After eight months cruising the net for gun-related news, I’m beginning to get Fingerspitzengefühl. That’s the German military term for a general feeling for the way things are going based on specific, seemingly unrelated information. Like the English expression “a finger on the pulse” only better. In the case of open carry, it’s clear to me that the movement is gathering steam. If nothing else, Internet chatter is increasing. There’s the defeat of anti-open carry legislation in California, the recent arrest of the Wisconsin [Open] Carry Five, a case in Canada and now this from wabf.comMan demands right to carry licensed gun into Denny’s. The really interesting bit: he wasn’t arrested . . .

“I walked in and she saw the weapon on my side. I was fine, I was seated to my table,” said Ashraf Abdallah.

Twenty-two-year-old Ashraf Abdallah has been a regular at the Denny’s Restaurant in Richmond Hill for years . . .

His visit on Wednesday afternoon may have been his last after what he calls rude treatment by a new manager.

“She walked up to me and said, ‘hey, is that a weapon on your side?'” Abdallah explained. “I said, ‘yes ma’am’ She asked if I was law enforcement. I said, ‘No ma’am.’ ‘You can’t have that in here,’ she told me. I said, ‘ma’am I have a carrier’s permit and Georgia law allows me to carry it in a restaurant.’ As along as I have been coming in here, my father comes in here, my friends carry it. she said, ‘I’ll have to check on that’ in front of all the customers.”

A few minutes later, Abdallah claims the manager returned with the Denny’s manual and policy.

“She opened up the book in front of me right on the table like I was a child,” Abdallah said. “She put me on a level I had never been to before.”

“I said, ‘ma’am I have been coming here for 12 years, cops see me, sheriffs see me with my weapon, nobody has ever say anything,'” Abdallah added. “Put a sign up saying, ‘hey no weapons.’ Why not have a sign? She said, ‘it’s in our hand book.’ How am I supposed to know what is in your handbook?”

Good question! But as I mentioned, the story ends with Mr. Abdullah simply walking out, drawing his . . . pen and writing a letter of complaint. To which a Denny’s District Manager replied (without consulting a spell checker or the company PR department):

Please understand, as a business proprieter we have an obligation to protect all of our guests, including you. Please understand if you were dining at Denny’s with your wife and family were sitting next to somneone with a conspicuous weapon, how safe would you feel? I certainly do not feel as though the manager was discriminating, although she may have been reacting emotionally and it may have felt like she was singling you out.

Sensitivity training much? Maybe a bit too much. But one thing’s for sure, unless there’s some sort of Arab-American subtext that I missed (until now), this non-story is a story because open carry rights are gaining respectability in the media.

Well, maybe not respectability as such. More like newsfuel. Never mind. These kind of items help accomplish Open Carry’s psychological goal: normalization. Leading to more deeply entrenched gun rights. Win/win. At least until someone does something stupid. And then watch the Open Carry story REALLY take off.

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  1. Open carry is politically risky. If I had to make book, I'd bet that widespread open carry will end up freaking people out and demanding that their legislators put a stop to it, rather than acclimatizing people to the sight of guns. In other words, I think it will politically backfire. But then, the very first freelance piece I ever sold argued that the Berlin Wall will never fall.

  2. I live and practice law in a theoretically open-carry state, but I can flatly tell you that pressing the issue is legally risky as well. It only takes one hysterical bystander or uninformed do-gooder to call 911 and tell the operator they're scared of you and your holstered pistol, and pretty soon you're facing trumped-up menacing charges.

    *I hate fine print, but I gotta say it again: I'm a lawyer, but this constitutes my personal opinion and not legal advice.

  3. A business is required to post a visible no firearm sign to the right of the main entrance. It sound like Denny's needs to make their policy official and viewable by their regular customers that way the customers that conceal carry can boycott them as well as the open carry ones. I will not eat there and I will send them an email to let them know it.

  4. Sending Denny's an email letting them know I won't patronize their establishments either unless they comport with State law in the exercise of ALL Constitutionally protected rights.

  5. Funny how that bad publicity and law suits go both ways, and based on real precedents Chris, we see too many of these trumped up charges being dismissed, and the cities or towns losing money so game on.

  6. I'm as far as you can get "pro gun rights". But, I agree with most that this will back-fire.
    Look how close it came in Calif that open-carry proponents actually ruined it for open-carry.
    But, most of all, look at what happened in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago where the police murdered a guy because he was carrying. He was just shopping, not even trying to make any statements.

  7. we have an obligation to protect all of our guests, including you
    Hey, wow! A statement in print, from a company official, accepting liability for protection of all guests!!! Woohoo!! The next time someone is injured in a Denny’s, esp. if it’s from a robbery they failed to prevent, I hope the lawyer(s) involved haul out this little gem.

    Besides, the manager involved was clearly using the employee handbook.
    Lots of companies deny their employees the right to self-protection (but do nothing to keep them safe from harm), but that doesn’t affect customers in the least.

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