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Yesterday, over on TTAG’s immensely popular Facebook page, I linked to an article at Editor-in-Chief Michael Sanson wondered Do guns belong in restaurants? “What you have here may well be a damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario,” Sanson advised restauranteurs. “What’s your take on this issue?” he asked his readership. “How would you handle a new law allowing customers to carry guns into your restaurant?” I asked our Facebook fans to reply to Mr. Sanson from the customer’s perspective, and copy us on their email. I’ve received some excellent essays, all of which were unflaggingly polite and rhetorically forceful. Here’s one from reader Chester B. Weber . . .

Michael Sanson,

I would start off by asking two questions:
– why don’t guns belong in restaurants/bars?
– what makes you think guns aren’t already in restaurants/bars? Legally or not?

We could go further:
– can you provide a single example of where a lawful/registered/CHL/CCL/CCW having their gun in a restaurant/bar resulted in the commission of a crime?
– how does a lawful person carrying their firearm in a restaurant/bar adversely impact the business owner and/or non-gun carrying patrons?
– what would you propose would be the end result or benefit to the owner/patrons of not allowing lawful people’s guns in restaurants/bars?

I could go on, but if these questions don’t illustrate the flawed premise of your question to you…well…I’ll spell it out for you: laws only impede the lawful; criminals will still do whatever the heck they want.

So, my answer to you is: YES. Yes, guns absolutely belong in restaurants/bars. Law-abiding, typical gun owners absolutely ZERO threat or risk to non-gun owning people. You and anti-gun-owners are deliberately or ignorantly mixing the effect and the object and not addressing the cause. There is a violence problem.

Guns are sometimes used in acts of violence. So are fists. And hammers. And knives. Implying that guns are the cause of violence is at best intellectually dishonest. Guns are inanimate objects. They are capable of neither good nor evil. They merely perform as operated. There is no gun problem. There is a violence problem. There is a crime problem. There is a mental health problem. Those are the CAUSE. GUNS are NOT the CAUSE. GUNS are NOT the EFFECT. They are the OBJECT upon which the unlawful and unstable sometimes use to commit acts of violence and crime.

Does violence belong in restaurants? No.
Does crime belong in restaurants? No.
Does mental illness and instability belong in restaurants? Probably not…
But when you conflate you question to be “do guns belong…” you are mixing cause and effect with the object.

So, sir, what exactly are you trying to ask? Or what are you trying or not trying to imply with your question? Do you even understand what you are asking? Because I, and the millions of other law-abiding gun owner, not only deserve but have the natural Right, enshrined in the 2nd Amendment on our Constitution, to protect me and my family as I see fit.

I’m a father. I’m a firearms owner. I’m an avid shooter. I have guns in my house. But I don’t have a concealed carry license. Why? I guess I’ve never felt the need. I think about it occasionally now as I get older. I’m not young and spry as I used to be. And I’ve seen the young and drunk and wild 20-somethings that alarm me, and the shady, possibly ill-intended younger men, and knowing I’m not getting any younger…I think about it. My father would say: “God made all men equal. Guns ensure that.” I want the option to choose to do so if I see fit.

I’d like to ask:
– if a place would ban me from protecting myself as I see fit, what restitution will that place provide to me and/or my family if I am injured or killed on their premises?
– what protections/security will a facility provide to me if I am not allowed to defend myself? To and from their premises as well?

You may say I can choose not to go to xyz place. True. But you’re proposing/implying that I should not be able to have my choice, if I so chose, of protecting myself in ALL of these types of facilities. So I’d have no choices. So it’s an outright ban. Does that should like freedom to you? Does it sound right to you? Because that’s what you’re asking, isn’t it?

Even if I’m licensed/approved by law enforcement to carry a concealed weapon, that’s not good enough for your arbitrarily standard of “safteyness”? You know what that is? You know what “safteyness” is? It’s ridiculous. It is at best the illusion of safety. I don’t want an illusion. I want to be able to choose to actually be safe.

Yes, let law abiding gun owners carry when and where they see fit. Period. End. Of. Story.

Chester B. Weber

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  1. There is a fly in the ointment all business owners should consider, especially if their business interacts with the public.

    What happens when an armed guest is negligently handling their weapon, sweeping your other clients and their kids?

    • Brandishing charges, I expect. Possibly ventilation, if they pose enough of a threat. Handguns carried in public (whether concealed or openly) should remain holstered, with the trigger covered. Long guns should be slung over the back with an empty chamber.

      • Agreed, except long guns should be left at home or in the vehicle.

        The restaurant manager/owner/chain makes a critical error when they insert themselves into the situation of defining when/where the licensed public can carry. The law already defines those parameters, and the correct response to anyone complaining about legally possessed guns in restaurants is “then change the law”.

        The anti-gun folks are only doing this because they CAN’T get the laws changed to reflect what they want, and if that’s the case, then the majority has already spoken.

    • Important point. ND’s happen. Low probability. I’m guessing much lower than the probability of violent crime. But that’s a risk calculation each private business owner will need to make for themselves (with, I suppose, the input of their insurance agent). As long as they are clear and up-front about their policy, I can’t take moral issue. They won’t see a penny of my money if they ban lawful carry, but I can’t take moral issue with them.

      Open carry, especially of long guns, is stickier because it might drive away some customers. So there’s an additional calculation they must make. Again, up to them, as long as they are clear and up front about their policy.

      The market can decide whether they have made the best choice (at least, that’s the way it would be in an ideal world).

    • How many people have been killed or injured in restaurants that have over served alcohol to aggressive people? Now, have many of those restaurants have have stopped serving alcohol after an injury or death?

    • And what if a patron picks up your steak and slaps you in the face with it? What if a patron grabs a couple steak knives and starts making threats and screaming? The what-if game doesn’t really get us far, especially when it’s so skewed. Disorderly conduct is disorderly conduct. Brandishing is brandishing. Logically, someone carrying a firearm would get in more hot water for disorderly conduct while carrying so there is more of a deterrent. Statistically, that sort of thing doesn’t happen by law-abiding carriers. Then you have to think about crime; as touched on what security does the restaurant provide? Who are they (and their insurance agency) to tell me what is sufficient?

    • Well ST; are you talking about someone with their pistol in hand in public “sweeping” the people in the vicinity? The only time I’ve read of or seen that on youtube is when a criminal is robbing someone at gun point and the prey would legally be able to fight back; hopefully with a gun. Otherwise, that is illegal.

      If you’re talking about someone with a long gun? Now I have seen people come close to that when they carry the gun slung in front or at low ready. Definitely people; if you are going to carry a long gun in public; please carry it slung on your back; ideally, with no mag in well and the bolt locked back; but at the very least, slung on the back.

      • This. I’m never in danger of having a negligent discharge when I’m out eating, because my gun stays in the holster, where it’s supposed to be.

    • Slip and fall accidents, whether real or fraudulent, are a real cost of business and may cause serious injury and the associated liability to the business. Still, business still sell products that can fall off shelves, customers may drop and waiters spill. I suspect “No Spill Zone” signs would solve everything.

      • Just coat the floors in sandpaper. You don’t NEED nice looking tile or carpet, right? For the children!

        • Nah, just coat the floors in those thick rubber mats you see cashiers standing on. Just think of all the jars of molasses that store clerks don’t have to clean up anymore…for the children.

    • Just about all of the negligent discharges that I have read about occurring in restaurants are Police. This is probably because concealed carry doesn’t allow you to handle the gun without cause in public. Open carrying could open the door to more ND. I support the right of folks to open carry handguns and long guns. Same as I support the right of straight and gay folks to wear sexually revealing outfits in public. I expect both gun carriers and the sexually extroverted to respect their freedoms by exercising them appropriately. Openly packing your “weapon” in a church or family restaurant is bad manners. If you want to normalize guns, then you are better off getting training to instruct scouts or 4H clubs in rifle and volunteering. Push your local school board to include gun safety training. If they can defend sex education and drug awareness training, guns should be covered too. The real holy grail for me would be to get competitive rifle squads back in metropolitan high schools. There are a few private Highschools in Texas that have squads, but no public that I know of.


    • avatar Man who is not Chester but who is speaking on behalf of Chester without Chester's authorization or knowledge

      Thank you.

  2. One of the problems in my opinion is that having a gun is viewed as wrong in the first place. That is where most people are coming from. That is why we keep seeing these kinds of topics; do guns belong in restaurants, do guns belong on college campuses, do guns belong in retailers. Guns belong anywhere people belong because people carry guns. We know most guns are carried legally and some are not carried legally. The illegal carry by some is a justification for legal carry by others. If someone is asking whether guns belong somewhere usually they’re starting from the viewpoint that guns do not belong there and are asking for some justification in relation to a complaint. We need that to change to “why not”. Why are we forced to change our legal and law-abiding lifestyle for the fears of someone else? That’s the real question.

    What this article is really asking is, “give me some reason to allow some customers to scare other customers by openly carrying a gun”. The problem isn’t the openly carried gun from a crime or violence stance, it’s just the fears of others. Instead of taking personal responsibility by changing their perspective they would rather others change their lives to suit their fears. Now how is that fair? Do their fears outweigh my rights?

  3. It’s one of those, “Do you still beat your wife?” questions.

    Restaurants would do well not to alienate the gun owner segment of the population. I won’t patronize restaurants that post “NO GUNS” and neither will/do my fellow gun-owner friends.

    The restaurant business is enduring lean times like the rest of us. Unless they want to cater to the non-productive class of citizens, they better welcome card-carrying good guys or we’ll take our money elsewhere.


  4. @ST And that has happened, when, where and how many times? That statement sounds more like a scare tactic than anything else.

      • “It’s a strawman argument.”

        Fair enough. But…

        “Please don’t feed the trolls.”

        If that really is the ST that usually posts here under that name, he is most assuredly NOT a troll. He often writes some extremely well thought out comments.

        Posing a “thought provoker” once in a while does not a troll make. At least that’s my opinion.

        His question points us to a very important point / distinction that is too often overlooked. The presence of the gun does not “elevate” certain behaviors.

        The parallel I’m thinking about is the case of the MI D&D guy a week or two ago. He was open carrying, but acting like an a$$ and ultimately got arrested for some non-gun-related charges.

        In my view, the presence of the gun was immaterial. He could have been (should have been?) arrested for what he was arrested for even if NOT open carrying.

        YES…the initial 9-11 calls mentioned the gun explicitly; but, those same people said he was NOT acting threatening with the gun. The issue was the behavior.

        Another example to ponder is the one from a few months ago where some OC advocates were going door-to-door, and TTAG commenters were saying they’d SHOOT the guy for being armed on their property. The pistol was holstered, his hand was nowhere near the gun, and he was passing out fliers. And for that … for ‘having a gun’ he should be shot?

        And that’s what it boils down to…the issue is the behavior. MI guy was drunk and disorderly, acting like a jerk to people just trying to live their lives.

        ST’s question helps us focus on this…that it is the behavior, not the GUN itself. It helps us focus on where the lines are.

  5. Welcome! Please leave your rifle in the car. Thank you. What would you like to drink? The handgun on your hip is okay.

    • I view it as a courtesy. Not carrying a rifle into a restaurant is a courtesy just the same as dressing appropriately or showering. Not everyone does it and I can’t force them to change, but it does say something about them.

      • *tsk* Next thing, you’ll be telling me to leave my bandolier of hand grenades in my trunk. I have a right to defend myself, good sir!

    • Long guns carried openly will often raise the ruffles on some folks, slung over the back, not so much, but intimidating to some. The reason to carry a long gun openly and uncased is still a mystery to me.
      I strongly believe that shop owners mostly are turned off by this practice, which results in them to post a sign, not allowing guns. They don’t think about that a concealed gun legally carried is OK, they just decide to keep guns out off their place of business.
      This of course hurts the people who CC

      • The reason to carry a long gun openly and uncased is still a mystery to me.

        I haven’t heard of that being done except in places where carrying handguns openly is illegal (e.g. Open Carry Texas). In such cases, while I wouldn’t do it myself, I can understand it: “We just want to carry a gun without a state-issued permission slip (no matter how easy that might be to obtain), but this is the only option allowed.”

        Kind of like in CA where people were openly carrying unloaded handguns… One might question the rationale for openly carrying an unloaded gun. But, that was the only way to lawfully carry a handgun in many areas of the state (well, apart from carrying it unloaded in a locked container). Sure, the CA legislature then banned even that practice… but, perversely, that might end up being a “good thing”.

        • Good thing? Yes and no. It was this reason the Peruta decision happened. With the restriction of UOC (unloaded open carry), the court required the Sheriffs to grant on self defense as a good cause. I am currently waiting for my interview with the Ventura County Sheriff for a CCW. Some counties are still playing it fast & loose on the granting and will probably be sued. The main reason that I went for CCW is that without it, there is no way to cross your homes threshold without a pistol in locked case, a rifle in a case or a Registered AW in a locked case.

      • “Long guns carried openly will often raise the ruffles on some folks,

        Wait. What I think that should be changed to is:

        “Guns will raise the ruffles on some folks.”

        YOU believe CC is okay. What of the grabber who thinks NO GUN is acceptable?

        I’m sorry, but the only difference is the ‘degree.’ YOU want to be the one positioning the line of what is acceptable. CC hangun okay with Gunr. OC of rifle…not so much.

        I submit that our goal is to have the gun not part of that discussion at all. How is the person acting? Has a gun or doesn’t have a gun, unless the gun is part of the behavior (pointing at someone, for example), should be immaterial.

        “The reason to carry a long gun openly and uncased is still a mystery to me.”

        In the case of OCT activists, this has been explained so many times that a TTAG regular would have to have TRIED to miss it.

        OC of handguns are illegal in Texas. They think that law is dump…that OC of rifles is legal but OC of handguns is not. So, they carry rifles openly to draw attention to how stupid the law is…to force people’s attention on the stupidity of that particular law.

        You may not agree with their political tactic…which is of course fine. But, WHY they are doing it should not at this stage of the game be “a mystery.”

        • I understand it’s the “Principal of the thing” but I still say a lot of shop and store owners are turned off by it, which in turn leads to “No Guns allowed” signs.
          It’s not illegal to wear your wife’s dress down main street, but would you do it? probably not, because it would attract attention to yourself, and then if patrons decided to leave a place of business because they didn’t want to see you making a spectacle of yourself, the shop owner would put a sign up.

          I’m not saying it wrong to OC a long gun in a restaurant, just stupid!

        • So your (and many others) answer to the handgun OC issue in Texas is to carry your AK, AR, etc into Target, Starbucks, Chipotle and the like and turn them against you (and all other POTG) when they pretty much didn’t care until you forced their hand by shoving your 2A rights in their face. Yes, I understand that it was done on principle but it BACKFIRED big time. Morons!

      • “…The reason to carry a long gun openly and uncased is still a mystery to me.”

        Yes. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a valid reason.

        Maybe I drive a convertible and leaving it in the car is not an option.

        Maybe I drive a motorcycle so I don’t even have a car to leave it in.

        Maybe I just left the range and am on the way back to the car.

        I am sure there are others who can come up with even more Maybe’s, and probably better ones than I just did.

        I see the open carry crowd just like any other group…. there are a few who should know better, there are few who probably shouldn’t but we really shouldn’t be judging unless willing to be judged by the same standard, and none of them are ‘bad guys’ just because they are carrying. Openly or otherwise.

        It isn’t the gun that makes them bad guys, it’s what they do with the gun that determines good or bad.

        • It isn’t the gun that makes them bad guys, it’s what they do with the gun that determines good or bad

          It’s also mode of carry that makes that determination difficult, even if they haven’t yet done anything with the gun.

          Handgun holstered (openly or concealed)? No problem.
          Long gun slung across your back? No problem.
          Pistol at low ready or rifle at sling/patrol ready? In a restaurant? With no apparent threats? For me, determination shifts strongly toward “bad guy” or, at the very least, “fvcking a$$hole”.

          (ETA: I Googled various terms to get a name for the way the Chipotle Ninja was carrying his rifle. The best I could come up with was “sling” or “patrol” ready. Sorry if those aren’t the correct terms.)

        • Chip,
          in answer to your “maybe’s”
          If you have a convertible: I’ve had maybe half a dozen convertibles, and they all had “trunks”

          Motorcycles, and just left the range: Done both! Always carried in a soft or hard case, never open, not because I was worried about what anybody would think, but to keep from scratching the bluing or stock.

          Exposed long guns, especially AR’s and AK’s are somewhat intimidating to a lot of folks, why stir up trouble just because it may be “Legal” Put the gun in a case! and get the respect of the general public!
          You can buy a cheap case for a sawbuck, so why not just get one and use it?

        • “Gunr says: You can buy a cheap case for a sawbuck, so why not just get one and use it?”

          I agree.

          I was merely pointing out the fact that not thinking of a reason doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons.

          I don’t like the OC crowd with their long guns in any level of ready, even when posing for pictures. But my not liking it means nothing to them doing it when it is legal for them to do it.

      • “The reason to carry a long gun openly and uncased is still a mystery to me.”

        That Chipotle Ninja thing was a one-shot deal; Texas has a prohibition on open carry of handguns, but open carry of long guns was legal. They were trying to make a statement, something like, “How stupid is a law that allows this, but forbids something much less ostentatious?”

        Last I heard, it’s working – apparently, TX is moving toward open handgun carry.

        • Rich,
          See my post above. My question is why not put the gun in a case, if you feel you must carry it into a business?

        • First, that’s not what you actually typed; several of us responded to what you typed: “why they are doing it is a mystery to me.”

          Second, what you are saying is that folks should only exercise rights in a manner you agree with. That sure SEEMS like what you are saying.

          YOU don’t like OC of rifles in restaurants. Fine. Don’t do it. If they are NOT breaking a law, what beef is it to you?

          Add to that the fuel that it has now been released that the reporting of the Chipotle deal was (big surprise) grossly misreported,

        • Jr,
          When I said it “seemed like a mystery” I was trying to say why are they doing it (even if it’s legal) when they must know that some people will object to it (open carry) and that it may very possible cause the shop owner to put up a sign stating that he will not allow ANY kind of carry in his place of business.

          You say if I don’t like open carry of long guns in restaurants then don’t do it, why should it bother me.
          First, let me get one thing clear, The long gun doesn’t bother me one bit! What bothers me is what I have said before, that some folks who patronize these establishments, get all “hyped up” and complain to the management. Guess what happens then. He doesn’t put up a sign that says: “NO LONG GUNS”, He puts up a sign that says “NO GUNS” Period! He doesn’t make the distinction between “open carry”, and “concealed carry” So then, unless I get written permission to CC in his place, I run the risk of loosing my permit, if there should ever be an incident.
          That’s why it bothers me! The gun itself isn’t the problem. Maybe in 20 or 30 years from now, it will be normal thing to walk in a restaurant and see half a dozen folks sitting at tables, with their AK etc. slung over their shoulder.
          Things take time, and if we try to “push” too much, your going to see “No Guns Allowed” signs all over the place, and a CC permit wont be worth the paper it’s written on. It’s your choice!

        • “What bothers me is what I have said before, that some folks who patronize these establishments, get all “hyped up” and complain to the management. “

          But they DON’T do that. It’s a myth created by MDA.

          Read what REALLY happened at the Chipotle here:

          Here’s what happens. MDA has folks trolling the ‘net looking for pictures they can use. They find one…sometimes a LONG time after the ‘event’ and post it causing a stink.

          Then, THEY go to the manager and/or corporate and say, “Hey, this is bad.” Then corporate releases some PR fluff piece statement that does NOT prohibit legal carry.

          Your statement about them responding by putting up signs is also untrue. They are NOT doing that. The Chipotle where this incidence happened HAS NO SIGN.

          Numerous TX residents that post here have commented on more than one occasion that they are NOT seeing additional 30.06 signs at the locations in the media.

          In other words, the WHOLE THING is a production by MDA. They are creating a falsehood and spreading it. THAT is where our fight is…against those that ARE trying to limit and eliminate RKBA, not with those exercising said right.

          In my opinion, our goals should be:

          * Shut down MDA as the lying shill falsehood spreading group it is
          * Demand “truth in media” on gun rights issues.
          * Force people to confront the reality that people can carry guns and live as we know it does not come to an end.

          What we should NOT do is ‘eat our own.’ The real success of MDA’s smear campaigns and falsehood is every anti-OCT comment on TTAG.

        • JR,
          OK, I will agree that MDA is causing most of the problem. I’m still convinced that sometimes customers complain about folks running around with “awful looking guns”, and that will hurt us.
          However, I agree also that we should not fight amongst ourselves. With that said, I will say that I am sorry if I have offended any POTG with my posts.
          Can we now get on with this fight against MDA, and lay our differences to rest.

  6. The ‘where’ question avoids the real point, which is ‘why’. I think most lawful gun owners carry, as I do myself, under the reasoning of the 1 armed deputy in Unforgiven; we don’t want to get killed for want of shooting back. Ok, so who is most likely to be a problem in a public venue in a concealed carry legal state? In my opinion and with some restaurant experience, the mentally ill to one degree or other. The thieves restauranteurs have to worry about are already in the back, probably the freezer or liquor room. It is the unhinged individual who poses the most probable threat. That said, I cannot put myself in the maniac’s mindset or begin to imagine what sets them off. Ergo, better safe than sorry. Equally with a bank. Several years ago there was a bank in Alabama where 5 or 6 people were killed, not during a botched hold up as you might expect but when some dingbat who had formed a crush on a married teller and been rejected showed up to exact revenge and those people just picked the wrong day to make a deposit. You don’t get car insurance just before you have the accident; be prepared, be self reliant.

  7. This is about as logical as asking if restaurants should continue to place sharp knives on the table in easy reach of each and every patron. I mean, have you seen the knives at Outback Steakhouse? How has nobody gotten slashed and stabbed to pieces?

    Because that’s every bit as likely as a law-abiding gun owner suddenly deciding to start shooting.

  8. When I visit any business establishment (restaurant, store, etc.) and see a “NO GUNS” sign:

    * If there’s a comparable establishment nearby, I’ll take my business there – whether or not I’m carrying.

    * If, as is often the case where I live, I’d have to drive an additional 20+ miles round-trip and/or pay higher sales taxes to go elsewhere, I ignore the sign. I keep it in mind, though, for future business – I’ll try to plan further ahead and go to that more-distant establishment when it’s convenient.

    (Re-reading the second point, I see that I’m essentially whoring my ethics for a few bucks. Ouch. However, if I’m anywhere near Rifle, CO in the next few months, I’ll go out of my way to patronize Shooters Grill; though it’s not like they need the extra business.)

    I hope I would have acted the same a few decades ago, back when things like “No Jews or Negroes” were both legal and “acceptable” (though I’m neither Jewish nor black). To me, a “No Guns” sign really means “We don’t serve your kind here.”

    • “I ignore the sign.”

      I do not.

      But then, I’m in a “signs have force of law” state.

      Were I in a “sign only informs, trespass if failure to leave when notified” state, I would ignore the signs.

      • Yeah, I’m in CO. Except for the very few statutorily prohibited places, signs have no force of law here. Sign or not, the only penalty is “if you enter, we ask you to leave, and you don’t leave, we can call the cops and have you cited for trespassing”.

        In the last 3 years, I’ve only seen one “no guns” sign within 20 miles of my house – and then only after I’d been told about it. I had to actively search for it on the door… it was a 3″x5″ pale-green piece of paper, with 1/4″ high black text, on the side of the door opposite the handle. Cabela’s does ask you to check your guns inside the front door, but they specifically exempt those carried by CHP holders.

        • Cabelas and Bass Pro, according to convos I’ve had with staff, really don’t care about a holstered gun–unless you plan to unholster it to have it sold or repaired. Then they want it checked–but that means them clearing it and you still carry it back there (cased or not, I don’t know–I already had the info I wanted at this point). So I simply OC into the places. I do wish their signs were clearer.

          • Correct about Cabelas. They allow OC. In fact, our group sets up an open carry informational table in the huge Cabelas in Dundee, MI twice each year.

  9. I would like to see TTAG compile a list, if that’s possible, of major stores, eateries, etc., that have a no guns period! Policy. If that’s not beyond your capabilities, thanks ahead of time.

      • Thanks, I took a long look at the list. Really surprised to see some of the actors on the list, that are noted for gun violence in their movies.
        Also, I guess I’ll stick to McDonald’s for an occasional snack, and skip “Jack’s grease”

        • They may not be on that list because they do not ‘legally’ prohibit carry. No signs, right?

          I get your point..they said it publicly, so they are not “for” 2A and RKBA. Officially. At the corporate level.

          Your line is different than mine on this point. I’m a “talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words” type. Their PR talk was cheap, and the lack of action (no signs) is what matters – to me. I can still carry in Target and Chipotle, so I have not lost my RKBA there.

          Or, maybe the list is just old and not updated in a while. 😉

          Side point that may be of interest on the ‘local vs corporate’ view.

          Here, I noticed a grocery store with a “no weapons” sign in the door. Other stores in that same chain did NOT have signs.

          Understand that until 2013, we had an ambiguously worded law that led some to interpret that grocery stores that sell beer or wine were statutorily prohibited places. In 2013, that was fixed.

          My suspicion when I saw the saw the sign after the new law went into effect was that it was a hold-over from the old law and that the local manager was just covering his bases. I wrote Corporate an email asking for clarification on their carry policy. I never got a response.

          But, within a day or two, the sign was gone.

          Whatever the corporation’s ‘official’ stance was, it was obviously not imposed on individual stores. At least one had a sign and many did not.

          And, for clarity, signs here do carry “force of law.” It’s not just a notification that you will be asked to leave.

          Until I start seeing “no guns” signs in Target, and in keeping with their “we obey state and local laws” I’m not concerned with what a corporate suit said. Because here, placing a sign is the ONLY way they are allowed by law to prohibit my carry on their premises.

          Signs have force of law; corporate press conference requests do not. At least that’s true in my state.

      • I question that list. For example, Waffle House. Supposedly corporate says “no guns?” No Waffle House I’ve seen has ever displayed a no guns sign. I’ve open carried in Waffle House a lot. In fact, the Waffle House in Kennesaw, GA was “famously” not robbed one night because a couple of citizens were spotted by the “scout” in there open carrying and they aborted their robbery. It was written up in many newspapers and media outlets.

        “The criminals informed the police that they had changed their mind upon discovering armed customers”

  10. Chipotle Ninjas and their brain-dead supporters are largely responsible for businesses now making statements about “no guns.”

    Thanks a lot, you chuckleheads.

      • In that one case (Chipotle Ninjas), I blame the ninjas.

        If I saw someone carrying a long gun like they were in a restaurant, my thought (verbalized or not) would be WTF? I’d adjust myself in my chair so that my concealed weapon was easily accessible, I’d stop using my right hand for eating, and my eyes wouldn’t leave the guy.

        If I’d seen him carrying it slung on his back, I might’ve thought to myself “huh”, but I wouldn’t go to condition orange.

        • Actually, the “Chipotle ninjas” asked for and were granted permission by Chipotle to OC their rifles in the restaurant.

          It was MDA and certain “pro-gun” phonies who made it such a divisive issue.

          • Actually, the “Chipotle ninjas” asked for and were granted permission by Chipotle to OC their rifles in the restaurant.
            Ah – I wasn’t aware of the permission factor.

            Still, as an armed person in the store, I’d hit Orange if I saw someone carrying the way they were. Similarly, I wouldn’t be surprised if people (even POTG) freaked out if I was in the store with my 1911 at low ready. I have no problem with the open carry of any kind of firearms… it’s when people have both hands on the gun and seem to be in condition orange themselves that I start to get “twitchy”. I’m going to presume that either a) they’re responding to a threat (so I need to be ready) or b) they ARE the threat (so I need to be ready).

            • “Ah – I wasn’t aware of the permission factor.”

              Not to pick on you, but so much has been written about this how can you–or anyone–not be aware that they asked for permission beforehand and were granted it? That they politely talked to all the restaurant patrons while they were there and passed out OCT fliers about getting the handgun OC law changed? That, despite the Chipotle corporate response, that particular restaurant granted them permission to come back whenever they wanted?

              It’s not just this story. Same thing with Rodger Elliot and so many other news stories, people don’t seem to know the facts–which have been published–yet feel the need to offer their opinions anyway that contradict the facts of the story.

              It’s disheartening.

        • “Ah – I wasn’t aware of the permission factor.”

          Not to pick on you,

          Note what I said after that. I don’t freaking care if they were granted permission by the manager, Chipotle corporate, MDA, or God / Bloomberg himself. If I see a guy walking around a restaurant with two hands on his firearm in low ready, I’m going to presume there’s a threat somewhere. First, I’ll look for the threat he’s addressing; if I can’t see one, I’ll presume that jackwagon is the threat. If he turns toward me, I will reasonably presume he’s an imminent threat to my safety. At that point, all bets are off.

        • Hey, Don…honest question to your point about going “orange.”

          Suppose you were sitting in a booth enjoying your Chipotle…whatever it is they sell…and you saw a dude OC-ing a rifle in a safe and responsible manner.

          He walked around passing fliers to guests with the manager’s permission. He approached your table and in manner caused no elevation of your awareness. You chatted with him and his buddies about RKBA and the dumb TX law that allows OC of rifles and not of handguns.

          No one in the store was upset in any way. Two cops were sitting a few booths away and they were not “orange” and likewise had engaged the activists in friendly conversation.

          After about 15 minutes of this kind of behavior, one of them said, “Hey, let’s get a picture.”

          And, they went to an unoccupied area of the store and “posed” for the shot we see. Low Ready, hand on grip, no finger on trigger, just not the “just OC” of a few minutes before.

          After the shot, it’s back to slings.

          So, here’s my question. Do you still go orange? Does a fuller set of facts change the threat assessment?

          My version is closer to the truth than “guy walking around with two hands on rifles in low ready.”

        • JR:

          No, in the specific circumstances you described, I would not “go orange”. Maybe a heightened yellow. Mostly because I cannot see any reason to put both hands on a rifle on a public place unless there’s a specific threat. Photo op or no.

  11. Restaurants are places where a lot of people gather in a small space, that are loaded with cash, and that serve alcohol (most restaurants). What could a criminal/sociopath possibly want with a place like that? [/sarc]

  12. the writer’s question assume that bad people will heed the right of the store owners, I guess he / she is willing to bet their well being on the Police who have no duty too protect! Maybe their plan is too sue the store owner for not protecting them! My guess is that this person has never had to face the reality of a life threatening experience perpetrated by evil people willing too take their life! and then they want everyone else to feel as helpless as them

  13. English is not even my first language but I still get an urge to retype this letter. But without all the spelling mistakes.

  14. If guns don’t belong in a particular restaurant, then maybe people don’t belong there either.

  15. Although I tend to agree with this post, I still think the comment yesterday was better. To paraphrase: no, guns don’t belong in restaurants, but until you can guarantee that no harm will come to me or mine, I will continue to carry mine.

  16. I didn’t know eating a burrito was being a ninja. Maybe next time I’ll OC while wearing my black gi. My blue belt fits through the loop on a cheapo Blackhawk holster.

  17. I sent this to Mr Sanson today:

    Mr Sanson,

    I read your article on guns in restaurants, and took some time to think about it.

    I’d like to let you (and anyone with whom you choose to share this) in on a little secret—when I’m out and about and eating in a restaurant where I’m legal to carry a gun and there are no signs prohibiting the practice, I’m carrying a gun in your readers’ restaurants.

    (In fact, I often will base my decision to patronize a restaurant based on the owners’ policies on the practice. For example, I have not eaten at a Buffalo Wild Wings since they’ve taken the step of posting signs saying they “ban guns” on their premises. And I will not eat at one in the future. If they’re willing to discriminate against me for carrying a gun and forcing me to make a decision whether to leave it in my car in their parking lot, I’m willing to discriminate against them when deciding to whom I want to give my money in exchange for food.)

    The fact that I’ve carried guns into, literally, a couple hundred restaurants should shock no one. It’s a common practice among concealed carriers. One thing that’s common in every last experience—no one has pointed me out as carrying a gun.

    (Please understand—the overwhelming majority of us are not the people you see making a big circus out of carrying guns into restaurants or other public places (looking squarely at you, Open Carry Texas). We don’t need, nor do we necessarily want, the attention that goes with carrying a visible gun in public. We just want to ensure we have the means at hand to defend ourselves in the event it becomes necessary; and we don’t want to have to leave our guns in our vehicles, which would be poor security, at best. So, for purposes of discussion, I’m not addressing those types of people, because they are not germane to the overarching discussion.)

    Now extrapolate that amongst national restaurant patrons. Given the rise in the number of concealed carry permits across the country, a large percentage of owners’ customer bases is legally carrying a gun into their restaurants on a regular basis—and doing so legally and without incident. You should also consider the fact that this practice has been going on for several years (I have had my current carry permit for three years, and carried on my previous permit for almost 10). I would wager the overwhelming majority of restaurant owners never knew their customers were legally carrying guns. I would further wager the overwhelming majority of them had no incidents from people legally carrying them.

    I don’t want to get into the arguments about whether these people make your readers’ businesses safer, because it’s a strawman. The average concealed carrier has no business intervening in anything like a robbery, mostly because they assume liability for people who are hurt while doing so in any situation where they or their family members are not in immediate danger of being hurt or killed. However, the other argument—that having people carrying guns into restaurants make the other customers less safe—is even more of a strawman, because empirical evidence does not support it. There has been no dramatic rise in incidents in restaurants involving concealed carriers, even with the rise in number of people doing it.

    So my fundamental question to you is this—given that an owner should assume that some percentage of their current customer base regularly carries a gun into their businesses—why the angst? Over the years since concealed carry permits have become more available, how many incidents can the restaurant industry point to (let alone an individual owner)? I would argue there’s no need to make a big deal of it, either way.

    After all, we haven’t (for the most part).


    Kent Christen, Major, US Air Force (Retired)

    PS—In most jurisdictions, it’s illegal for a permit carrier to drink while carrying a gun. I cannot speak for everyone, but when I carry a gun, I don’t drink alcohol. If I’m going out, and I believe I may drink, I leave the gun at home. I don’t have statistics (no one does), but I’d wager that a large portion (maybe even the overwhelming portion) of permit holders do the same thing. Can your readers have the same level of confidence in that number of people who almost certainly are carrying a gun illegally in your readers’ businesses?

  18. Despite the wildest fantasies of those who dislike guns, the truth of the matter is far less exciting. As a class of citizen, you won’t find a more law-abiding group than those who have concealed carry permits. But don’t take my word for it. Check out page 7 of this report:

    Don’t trust them? How about the Texas Department of Public Safety:

    Maybe Texas is atypical: Look at Florida instead:

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