John Tesar, the chef behind Knife and Oak, has gotten out in front of people who might want to openly carry a handgun in his restaurants. He doesn't want them eating at his businesses, as he made clear when he talked to Eater last week about how he'd be handling Texas' new open carry law, which went into effect January 1. Texans are now allowed to carry pistols in an exposed shoulder or belt holster, provided they are licensed to carry a handgun and the property owner is OK with that.
Tesar made light of the situation on his personal Facebook page and had a gentle discussion with a patron who was shocked that the chef might not be totally fine with her carrying at Knife. The chef told the customer that he was fine with her carrying, as long as she kept her gun concealed.
"A customer asked me if they could pack in the hotel, and I said concealed is not a problem. I don't have the right to tell somebody not to carry a concealed weapon. That's not what the law is. I mean, I could say you can't have concealed weapons, but I don't have the right to search anybody or to question them. It's a subject where I think all these gun laws are technicalities to begin with and they're just Band-Aids on a much larger problem. Everybody's aware of that, but then there's all the politics," Tesar tells the Observer.
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If someone comes into Knife with a gun on his or her hip, Tesar says he'll have a "nice conversation" with the person and ask them to leave the gun in the trunk of their car. He doesn't want anyone to feel so unsafe at his restaurant that they feel the need to carry a weapon to eat there, he says.
"It's not that we don't want them here, but if they feel unsafe, I don't want them to feel paranoid while they're eating dinner," Tesar says.
Hopefully, Tesar says, his speaking out won't cause gun rights advocates to force a confrontation at one of his restaurants.
"These are really just my opinions. I never force my opinion on anybody, I just don't want anybody to take it away from me. If anything, my opinion is my gun," he says.