Good news for those of us who prefer our late night breakfast taquitos without a side of Sig Sauer: Whataburger has confirmed it will not allow the open carrying of handguns in its restaurants after the practice becomes legal in Texas on January 1.
"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, and as a business, we have to listen and value that feedback in the same way we value yours. We have a responsibility to make sure everyone who walks into our restaurants feels comfortable. For that reason, we don’t restrict licensed concealed carry but do ask customers not to open carry in our restaurants," Whataburger CEO Preston Atkinson said in a statement.
Atkinson's statement, issued late last Thursday, just before the holiday weekend, confirms a directive sent to Whataburger employees last summer after one store's run-in with a rifle toting open-carrier. Employees are instructed to inform anyone with a visible gun of the chain's policy before calling the police if the person doesn't leave when asked.
Open Carry Texas apparently thinks Monterey Melts are less delicious without a side of firearms.
"What Whataburger is doing is caving to the brainwashing and social engineering that the anti-gun crowd has successfully worked to accomplish over the past few decades in their efforts to shame gun ownership and guns in public. The restaurant is caving to that mentality and essentially agreeing with this premise. The ?#?gunsense? lobby can't win in the legislature so they're intimidating, bullying and scaring businesses into basically stigmatizing law abiding citizens and perpetuating the public shaming," the group said.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a gun-control advocacy group, praised the burger joint.
"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," she said.
In January, Whataburger and any other business that doesn't want openly carried guns on its premises will be required to display what's known as a "30.07" sign. Penal code 30.07 references trespass by a license holder with an openly carried handgun. Currently businesses not wanting concealed handguns on their property must display a "30.06" sign, which refers to the concealed carry trespass portion of the penal code. Spotting flaws in non-conforming 30.06 signs has become a hobby for gun enthusiasts
, the same will likely be the case for the new signs.