Breaking news from the state of Texas (of all places) has reminded me of Target’s open carry policy from last year. In a controversial move, the Whataburger chain of restaurants in Texas is defying the new open carry law by
refusing to allow its customers to carry weapons inside the restaurant. The Texas open carry legislation purports to allow everyone to carry weapons openly starting this coming January 2016. But Whataburger open carry doesn’t seem to be an option. Even if the new law will allow any type of open carry, including open carry restaurant access, Whataburger has declined to join in with this new law. The controversy here revolves around how legal this move is and whether the restaurant should be allowed to make such decisions in spite of the new law. Many members of the gun rights community are reasonably upset. The restaurant could argue that it’s not public space, but rather a private space with the right to select its customers. However, similar arguments have been labeled (rightfully so) unconstitutional and discriminatory when certain businesses have declined business with certain patrons of a select race or sexual preference.
In what seems to be the PR disaster of the year for Whataburger restaurants, Preston Atkinson, the CEO of the company, issued some statements meant to mend the situation. He stated that this Whataburger open carry policy will be the only one which censors its customers in order to maintain a more family-friendly atmosphere so that everyone can feel comfortable. He also mentioned that Whataburger is by no means against the rights and sympathies of gun rights groups and that he himself is also a passionate gun owner who enjoys hunting from time to time. The only thing the restaurant decided to ban is open carry, and that the Whataburger concealed carry policy will remain in place.
More on the Texas Open Carry Law
The Texas open carry law was recently adopted back in May 2015. According to its scheduled, the state will officially apply the law in January 2016. The Texas open carry legislation was actually intended to overturn and overhaul a ban on open carry predating the Civil War. The new open carry law allows gun owners to carry their firearms openly on the street and in public space without any restrictions as long as the necessary paperwork and license to carry are in order. Even if Texas’s stance on carrying weapons has always been pretty relaxed (stemming from the country’s Wild West legacy), the state was still one of only 6 states that banned open carry. Now, with this new law, gun owners must still apply for a permit to be allowed to openly carry their guns in a holster. But, at least open carry is a possibility for residents.
Since the Second Amendment allows people to openly carry their guns, this ban in Texas was obviously a hot issue (rightfully so) for the conservative majority of the state. So, they fought hard to remove the ban. With this legislative hurdle finally overcome and the new law passed, the state really doesn’t need restaurants like Whataburger coming up their own ban which may discriminate on lawful gun owners (whether they choose to open carry or not). Time will tell if the restaurant is allowed to maintain such policies by Texas lawmakers and whether Whataburger sales will suffer due to this new policy.
What do you think of this controversial decision. Does it impede on your natural rights as a law abiding citizen or should Whatabuger be entitled to decide who to not serve as a private institution? Does this privatized status even matter considering that Whatabuger has entered the public sphere of business and is potentially discriminating against a group of people? Please share your opinions with us in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers!