Chipotle Bans Guns After Dallas Open Carry Group Brings Assault Rifles to Lunch

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Few things can ruin a Chipotle veggie burrito bowl (brown rice, black beans, extra fajita vegetables, medium, guac on the side, in case anyone is wondering) quite like a group of open carry advocates toting loaded assault rifles into the restaurant.

Unfortunately, that's what happened last Saturday in Dallas.

Because you never know when you'll need a weapon of war while eating a burrito, a gun rights group descended on Chipotle, which “caused many of our customers anxiety and discomfort,” according to a Chipotle spokesperson.

Fortunately, both Chipotle and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America responded swiftly.

Read more about the open carry incident after the jump.According to Dallas KRLD, one one member of the group carried an AK-47 and others carried AR-15s.

“The rifles were loaded. There's no reason to carry an unloaded weapon – it wouldn't do any good,” he said.

Open carry groups across the nation have received widespread criticism for gatherings such as these, during which pro-gun activists often become aggressive and intimidating.

As BOR reported earlier this month, when Open Carry Texas visited a Fort Worth Jack in the Box, some employees hid in the freezer in fear.

In 2013, open carry demonstrators occupied a Starbucks store in Newtown near the site of the elementary school shooting where 26 children and educators were killed.

After photos of the Chipotle gathering went viral on Facebook, Moms Demand Action launched a social media campaign to protest the demonstration.

On Monday afternoon, Chipotle responded with a statement requesting that gun owners leave their guns at home:

The issue of gun ownership or gun rights has become one of the most contentious debates in the country. Chipotle has never taken a position on this issue, as we focus instead on our mission to change the way people think about and eat fast food.

Recently participants from an “open carry” demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort.  Because of this, we are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

Historically, we felt it enough to simply comply with local laws regarding the open or concealed carrying of firearms, because we believe that it is not fair to put our team members in the uncomfortable position of asking that customers refrain from bringing guns into our restaurants.  However, because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers, we think it is time to make this request.

We acknowledge that there are strong arguments on both sides of this issue. We have seen those differing positions expressed in the wake of this event in Texas, where pro-gun customers have contacted us to applaud our support of the Second Amendment, and anti-gun customers have expressed concern over the visible display of military-style assault rifles in restaurants where families are eating. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request. And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.

Update: Thanks to reader Dan Cook for pointing out that the TABC prohibits businesses that sell or serve alcoholic beverages from allowing rifles or shotguns into their buildings. Here's a press release from last September.

Reminder: “Long guns” prohibited in TABC-licensed businesses.

With the recent publicity surrounding the open carrying of rifles and shotguns, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) would like to remind the public of the following:

Although an individual may have the legal authority to openly carry certain firearms in public, a business that is licensed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages is prohibited by state law from allowing rifles or shotguns in the building.

Specifically, Section 11.61(e) of the Alcoholic Beverage Code says that TABC shall, after the opportunity for a hearing, cancel a permit if the permittee knowingly allowed a person to possess a firearm in a building on the licensed premises. There are some exceptions included in this law, including licensed concealed handguns.

If an individual does choose to carry a rifle or shotgun into a TABC-licensed business, the individual is placing the business owner's TABC license at risk. Also remember, a business owner may ask a patron to leave the premises. If the patron refuses, that individual may be subject to criminal trespassing charges under Texas Penal Code Section 30.05.

We ask that Texans, while exercising individual rights, please respect the obligations of business owners under state law.


About Author

Natalie San Luis

Natalie is a native Texan, a feminist, and a writer, focusing on reproductive justice, race, and pop culture. When she's not writing (and sometimes when she is), she's brewing beer, drinking beer, and reading stuff on the Internet. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, xoJane, The Billfold, Culturemap, and E3W Review of Books. She tweets from @nsanluis.

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