Bans Firearms At Restaurants After Texas Demonstration
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[May 21, 2014]
By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - Chipotle Mexican Grill
will no longer allow firearms in its restaurants after gun-rights
activists posed with military-style assault rifles at one of its Texas
outlets, the company said on Tuesday.
The Denver-based chain said in a statement that a recent
open-carry demonstration at a Dallas-area restaurant caused its
customers "anxiety and discomfort," and prompted the policy change.
"Because of this, we are respectfully asking that customers not
bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law
enforcement personnel," company spokesman Chris Arnold said.
A gun-control group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America,
launched a petition drive on social media demanding that Chipotle
halt the practice after photographs depicting the Texas
demonstration surfaced on the Internet.
"Moms want to know that when we take our families out to eat
burritos, we won't be confronted with bullets," the group's founder,
Shannon Watts, said in a statement announcing the campaign. "We
support the Second Amendment but we also need to feel safe and
secure in the places we take our children."
Moms Demand Action was formed after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 schoolchildren and
Arnold said the policy shift was a direct result of the Texas
incident, and not due to pressure by any gun-control groups.
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"Historically, we felt it enough to simply comply with local laws
regarding the open or concealed carrying of firearms, because we
believe that it is not fair to put our team members in the
uncomfortable position of asking that customers refrain from
bringing guns into our restaurants," he said.
But Watts said "in states where no background checks or training are
required to buy semi-automatic rifles and carry them openly in
public, businesses have a duty to protect their employees and
Chipotle joins other retail stores that are implementing similar
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
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