Chipotle became the latest corporate chain to experience a public relations crisis over anti-gun hysteria. Open carry advocates held a small awareness event at a Dallas metro area store, which spooked customers and led to a reaction from the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Chipotle is asking customers not to bring firearms into its stores after it says gun rights advocates brought military-style assault rifles into one of its restaurants in Texas.
The Denver-based company notes that it has traditionally complied with local laws regarding open and concealed firearms.
But in a statement Monday, the company said that “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.”
The announcement came after a petition by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has called on other companies to ban firearms in their stores as well. The group said its petition was in reaction to open-carry gun activists appearing at a Dallas-area Chipotle restaurant over the weekend.
The event in question…
Mom Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
CHIPOTLE ALLOWING OPEN CARRY IN STORES: Gun extremists were welcomed into a Dallas-area Chipotle this weekend to dine and pose for pictures while armed with assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns. When asked for a comment about this activity, a Chipotle customer service representative emailed, “We follow all local laws and plan to continue to do so.”
Chipotle has refused to prohibit open carry inside its stores even though it has every right to do so as a private business. In Texas, no background check, license, training, or age limit is required to carry a loaded AR15. And did we mention that Chipotle serves alcohol?
Let Chipotle Mexican Grill know moms won’t tolerate corporate cowardice when it endangers our children and families:
CALL: Chris Arnold, 303-222-5912
EMAIL: [email protected]
TWITTER: @ChipotleTweets OR @ChipotleMedia #BurritosNotBullets
Although Chipotle essentially folded to the public relations uproar, the company did hold off on banning guns completely from their stores. The company deferred a hard decision to the existing laws, which hopefully, should be a reasonable middle ground to defuse this particular conflict. Either way, Chipotle has taken some steps to remove their name from the noisy debate.
Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for the group, said she thought the move by Chipotle was a “bold statement,” especially considering its previous stance of complying with local laws.
Many states allow people to carry licensed guns in some way, but some businesses exercise their right to ban firearms.
A Chipotle spokesman didn’t immediately respond when asked if the company’s request was an outright ban, or how it would respond if people continued to bring firearms into its restaurants.
Last year, Starbucks Corp. also told customers that guns were no longer welcome in its cafes after it had to temporarily close a store in Newton, Connecticut, to avoid a demonstration by gun rights advocates. The company said it shut down the store out of respect for the community, where 20 school children and six educators had been slain.
The Seattle-based coffee chain stopped short of a ban, however, saying it didn’t want to put its workers in the position of having to ask people carrying guns to leave its stores. Its carefully worded decision also underscored how major companies need to walk a fine line on highly divisive political issues.
Likewise, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. noted in its statement that “there are strong arguments on both sides of this issue.” It said it hoped that customers who oppose carrying guns in public agree that “it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area.”
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