On the heels of the launch of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s social media campaign asking Raising Cane’s, a chicken finger fast-food chain with more than 200 stores in 18 states, and its founder Todd Graves to respond to the dangerous behavior of extremists open carrying long guns in its establishments, the head of Open Carry-Tarrant County Kory Watkins posted a video to his Facebook page yesterday threatening Texas state legislators with death. In the video, Watkins speaks directly to Texans and says (3:50), “…We should be demanding these people give us our rights back, or it’s punishable by death… do you understand how serious this is?”
Some of the photographs that Moms have featured as part of their social media petition to Raising Cane’s include Watkins (and others responsible for forcing the Texas state legislature to install panic buttons in their chambers) open carrying a semiautomatic rifle at Raising Cane’s in Arlington, Texas last month.
In response to the latest death threats made against Texas legislators by the same extremist who open carried at Raising Cane’s, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America released the following statement from founder Shannon Watts:
“Moms are asking Raising Cane’s: do you stand with gun extremists like Kory Watkins, who threatened the lives of Texans or do you stand with moms and families who deserve a comfortable environment to enjoy a meal together? We know the intimidating behavior of these gun extremists is a concern to Raising Cane’s as well. Simply following state and local laws is not enough—in states where no background check is required to buy a semi-automatic rifle and carry them openly in public, businesses have a duty to protect their employees and customers. That is why Moms are asking Raising Cane’s to let us know how they are prioritizing customer and employee safety – and we hope the chain will follow the lead of other restaurants like Chipotle, Sonic and Jack in the Box that stood up to this extremist behavior and asked their customers to leave their firearms at home.”
Raising Cane’s already prohibits firearms with signage in its restaurants in four states: Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada, and Oklahoma. However, the chain has no specific policy when it comes to prohibiting open carry at its restaurants in other states, saying the company follows state and local laws. The laws in a majority of states allow people to openly carry loaded rifles in public with absolutely no training, permitting, or minimum age requirement. Combined with the millions of gun sales that occur without a background check in the U.S., this means that people in most states can legally carry loaded rifles in public without ever having passed a criminal background check.
Moms Demand Action has successfully worked with major brands like Panera Bread, Target, Starbucks, Chipotle, Sonic, Jack in the Box, and Chili’s, to adopt gun sense policies and ask guests to leave their firearms at home.