Texas’s top hamburger restaurant chain issued a statement promulgating the prohibition of the open carry of firearms in their establishments.
The San Antonio based Whataburger picked the days leading up to the Independence Day weekend to formally make the announcement that the business bans the wearing of pistols or carrying of rifles openly in any of their restaurants. The company says it has been a longstanding policy.
“Whataburger supports customers’ Second Amendment rights and we respect your group’s position,” said Whataburger President and CEO Preston Atkinson in a written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, “but we haven’t allowed the open carry of firearms in our restaurants for a long time. It’s a business decision we made a long time ago and have stood by, and I think it’s important you know why.”
“But first, as a representative of Whataburger, I want you to know we proudly serve the gun rights community,” Atkinson continued. “I personally enjoy hunting and also have my concealed carry license, as do others at Whataburger.”
The company does allow customers with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry a handgun concealed in their nearly 800 locations located across ten states.
Atkinson expressed his concern for the impact open carry might have on his 34,000 employees and their customers. “We’re known for a family friendly atmosphere that customers have come to expect from us,” he explained. “We’re the gathering spot for Little League teams, church groups and high school kids after football games.”
“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,” the Whataburger president concluded. “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.”
In December, 2014, Breitbart Texas reported that Whataburger had been named as the number one visited hamburger chain in Texas. The ranking came from Thrilllist.com after compiling over 20,000,000 check-ins from Foursquare.
The new law in Texas, that goes into effect on January 1, 2016, allows CHL holders to openly carry a handgun in a belt or shoulder holster. The law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott on June 13, also allows business owners to prohibit open carry by placing a 30.07 sign at the entrances to the establishments. Businesses that do not want CHL holders to carry a concealed handgun inside their establishments must also post a 30.06 sign at the entrances.
The menu at Whataburger gives you more than 37,000 different ways to enjoy your burger. Open carry will not be one of those ways.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.