Sonic, Chili's Ask Customers To Keep Guns
Out Of Restaurants
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[June 02, 2014]
By Victoria Cavaliere
(Reuters) - Two national chain restaurants
have asked that customers refrain from bringing firearms into their
establishments, saying the weapons can create an uncomfortable
atmosphere for other diners.
Sonic Drive-In and Chili's Grill & Bar both issued statements
Friday requesting that customers keep their guns out of their
restaurants even if they have an open carry permit.
The request, which stops short of an outright ban, came after
members of the gun-rights group Open Carry Texas walked into
Texas-area outlets of Sonic and Chili's carrying assault rifles.
Dallas-based Brinker International Inc, which owns the Chili's
chain, said in a statement it was dedicated to providing "a safe
environment for our guests and team members."
"We recognize that the open carry of firearms creates an
uncomfortable atmosphere and is not permitted under many local
liquor laws,” spokeswoman Ashley Johnson said.
Sonic, owned by Sonic Corp, also issued a statement asking that
customers "refrain from bringing guns onto our patios or into our
outdoor dining areas."
The two companies joined a growing number of national eateries,
including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, and Jack in the Box Inc, that
have asked diners to keep their firearms at home.
Chili's and Sonic had also come under pressure from gun control
groups to issue a no-firearm policy after video surfaced of Open
Carry Texas members descending on several San Antonio locations
while carrying weapons.
The members were asked to leave by management.
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Open Carry Texas said on its Facebook page it would "cease taking
long guns into corporate businesses unless invited."
Gun control groups applauded the move by Brinker International and
"You can support the Second Amendment while taking reasonable
measures to ensure that Americans are safe and secure in the places
we take our children," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action
for Gun Sense in America, said in a statement.
The no-gun policy follows a mass shooting incident at the University
of California, Santa Barbara on May 23 that has renewed debate over
gun control laws.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere)
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