Because no one peruses the websites of fast food chains, it took almost a week for the news to hit, but hit it did: Whataburger, the pride of Texas food, says it won’t allow open carry in its restaurants even after a new state law legalizing it goes into effect.
In a press release/Dear John letter to open-carry lovers, Whataburger president and CEO, Preston Atkinson, explained that “we haven’t allowed the open carry of firearms in our restaurants for a long time.” Atkinson continued that the burger chain will maintain that policy, in short, because “we’ve had many customers and employees tell us they’re uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement.”
The new law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott last month, will go into effect January 1, 2016.
Still, Atkinson understandably kowtowed to the gun rights crowd:
[A]s a representative of Whataburger, I want you to know we proudly serve the gun rights community. I personally enjoy hunting and also have my concealed carry license, as do others at Whataburger.
We hope you and your members, along with our other friends in the gun rights community, understand our position and will continue to visit us.
Whataburger made a wise decision to continue its open carry ban. Why? Because, for whatever reason, their customers appear to love to a side of scuffle with their Thick & Hearty burger.
There’s a long(ish) history of fights and brawls at the fast food chain, but I only had to go back in time to this morning—when an item from the San Antonio Express-News hit my Twitter feed—to find such an example. In this incident, “at least two men jumped another man at a Whataburger in Edinburg after an argument ensued at a McAllen nightclub.” Here’s the video:
There are so many instances of this kind of thing, it’s hard to know how to catalog them all. And everyone seems to get a kick out them. Rapper C. Stone The Breadwinner and Paul Wall promoted a video of a man at an unknown Texas Whataburger who really wanted his “f—ing cheeseburger” (the employee calling out “44!” during the wrasslin’ match is a nice touch):
Here’s another one from Galveston (at least they went outside):
Good news (?) is that Whataburger appears to bring out the worst in both sexes. From El Paso:
But two brawls that laid waste to the respective restaurants last year really caught people’s attention. The first happened after a high school football game in September at a Cypress Whataburger:
The second occurred a month later in Plano after, yep, another high school football game: The fewer dangerous objects around people who are
suffering from indigestion aggravated, the better.
Of course, Whataburger isn’t the only fast-casual restaurant to hate on the Second Amendment. There was last year’s dust-up, when members of Open Carry Texas waltzed into a Chipotle with assault rifles. After that incident, the burrito joint asked its customers to leave their guns at home. Chili’s and Sonic asked their customers to refrain as well.
As a private business, Whataburger has every right to prohibit whatever items it chooses. But perhaps instead of banning open carry, the restaurant should just ban high school kids and drunks. Rather than post a “No Open Carry” sign, Whataburger can just post a breathalyzer-packing bouncer who checks IDs at the door.
(images via screenshot from King of the Hill)
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