Bucking the proliferation of gun-free zones everywhere from movie theaters to Chipotle restaurants, the owners of a restaurant in Rifle, Colo., are openly welcoming the gun-carrying public.
Even the waitresses at Shooters Grill in this small Colorado mountain town are armed, some with modern semiautomatic pistols, but at least one with a Wild West-looking Ruger Blackhawk .357 revolver and a bandolier of live ammunition.
The owner assured reporters that the weapons are not part of a costume to go with the restaurant’s Western-themed décor.
“They’re real and they’re loaded and we know what we’re doing,” said owner Lauren Boebert, in comments to the Summit Daily News. “I fear for anyone who tries to rob us.”
Unlike other places that might feature the silhouette of a pistol with a red slash across it, a sign outside Shooters has pistols framed in green.
“Guns are welcome on premises,” the sign reads. “Please keep all weapons holstered, unless the need arises. In such cases, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.”
“We encourage it and customers love that they can come here and express their rights,” Boebert said. “This country was founded on our freedom. People can come in carrying their gun and they can pray over their food.”
Indeed, Shooters also stands out from other establishments in its open embrace of Christianity and customers are encouraged to pray over their chicken fingers and apple pie before digging in.
“I consulted with my Christian friends and everyone said ‘Shooters’ sounded like a bar or a strip joint,” Boebert told the Daily News. “But I thought, this is Rifle — it was founded around guns and the Old West. We called it Shooters and started throwing guns and Jesus all over the place.”
Business is booming at Shooters, and reports by the Daily News, USA Today and Denver’s 9News are filled with comments of support from patrons. Even the local sheriff likes the idea, telling the Daily News that he encourages people to get concealed carry permits because, with only one deputy per 1,000 residents, law enforcement can’t “be everywhere.”
In fact, Shooters offers gun safety classes to qualify for concealed carry permits once a month, although such classes aren’t required to openly carry a firearm.
Police Chief John Dyer is also supportive of the business model, although he qualified his support by saying that if Shooters served alcohol — it doesn’t — “I might be saying something different.”
“But I have no problem with it,” he told the Daily News. “And besides, they make a really good burger.”
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