The fast food chain Chipotle has told its burrito-loving Second Amendment enthusiasts to leave their firearms at home.
Chipotle issued the request after members of Open Carry Texas brought their firearms into one of the chain’s Dallas locations over the weekend.
In a statement the company explained that the presence of guns made their customers uncomfortable.
“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,” the statement from Chipotle reads. “Because of this we are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.”
Chipotle typically abides by local gun laws, but backlash amongst anti-gun activists compelled the chain to take further action.
One of the groups pressuring the chain to ban guns from the restaurant was the mother’s activist group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has also lobbied to prohibit open carry rights in Starbucks and Jack and the Box.
On Monday, the Michael Bloomberg-backed anti-gun group gathered over 10,000 signatures on a petition that they circulated on the Internet, according to a press release.
Despite the company’s request for customers to dine without their firearms, Chipotle says they see both sides of the gun debate.
“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…” reads the statement.
It continues, “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.”
Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham explained to Forbes that group did not mean to cause a stir this past weekend – they simply went to Chipotle for a bite after an event.
“We don’t go there just to carry guns into a restaurant,” he said. “We always let the manager know we’re coming. We try very hard to make people feel comfortable.”
Grisham told Forbes that Open Carry’s policy is to send an unarmed person into a restaurant to ask permission to dine.
“We’re peaceful, we’re looking for a place to eat, but we have guns,” he said. “If we’re not welcome, we’re not going to spend money there.”
It is unclear if Chipotle will strictly enforce the gun ban on its customers, or if the statement is simply a request.
Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee chain, recently released a similar statement asking customers to leave their firearms at home.
The Wall Street Journal notes that only a few big chains — such as Costco, CVS and Chuck E. Cheese’s — ban all guns.
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