NEW YORK— Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement in response to Whataburger’s recent confirmation that it prohibits the open carry of firearms in its restaurants. Whataburger’s policy confirmation comes on the heels of a new law in Texas that will allow the open carry of handguns starting in 2016.
Whataburger initially prohibited open carry last June after the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action repeatedly urged the company to change its policy through social media and by making numerous calls to the corporate headquarters. The Texas-based company has more than 780 locations in ten states across the country.
STATEMENT FROM SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION:
“Last year Whataburger answered the call of moms across Texas and throughout the country who urged the company to stand up for the safety of its loyal customers and dedicated employees by prohibiting the open carry of firearms in its restaurants—and today the company is standing strong in its commitment to public safety. Just like many members of Moms Demand Action, Whataburger’s president and CEO is a gun owner who supports and promotes responsible gun ownership—and he knows that support for the Second Amendment can go hand-in-hand with good business practices.
“Parents should be able to take their children to family-oriented restaurants like Whataburger and not have to wonder whether the person openly carrying at the table next to us is a good guy with a gun or a bad guy with a gun. Whataburger’s policy ensures that no employee or customer is forced to make that judgment call.
“American moms have been the driving force behind compelling major businesses— including Starbucks, Target and Chipotle among others—to put safety first and adopt gun sense policies like prohibiting the open carry of firearms in the stores and restaurants where we shop and eat with our families.
“Businesses have a responsibility to protect their employees and patrons—especially in states with weak gun laws. Whataburger is a Texas institution and its home state allows the open carry of firearms. Given this weekend’s shooting at an Austin hotel in which a man openly carried a firearm before opening fire and killing one man, it is now more critical than ever that our businesses put safeguards in place to protect their customers and employees.
“It’s time for all of us—individuals, elected officials and business leaders alike—to take the necessary steps to prevent the gun violence that kills 88 Americans every day.”
Whataburger’s announcement confirming its policy prohibiting open carry follows Uber’s decision last month to prohibit guns in its vehicles.
Moms Demand Action is currently asking Kroger stores to prohibit open carry in its supermarkets in response to incidences of gun violence in and around stores, as well as open carry demonstrations organized by gun extremists who brought loaded semi-automatic assault weapons into stores (photos here). The petition has garnered more than 360,000 signatures.
Moms Demand Action previously launched petitions that garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures asking Target, Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, Facebook and Instagram to reform the companies’ gun policies to make customers and communities safer.
- Target asked that its customers not bring their guns into its stores after nearly 400,000 Americans signed the Moms Demand Action petition.
- Sonic and Brinker International, which includes Chili’s Grill & Bar, released statements prohibiting the open carry of guns in their restaurants.
- Chipotle quickly responded to a Moms’ petition by asking customers to leave their guns at home, “because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”
- Jack in the Box also responded to the Moms’ petition by announcing that it would enforce a prohibition of guns in its stores, stating that “the presence of guns inside a restaurant could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences.”
- After pressure from Moms, Facebook and Instagram announced significant steps to block potentially illegal firearm sales through their platforms.
More information on how Moms Demand Action has led the way on corporate responsibility on gun safety is available here.