Texas, as we all expected when Abbott took the throne, now has open carry of firearms (as of January 1st, 2016 for legal license holders). This, of course, was a cornerstone of Abbott’s campaign. In fact, it’s number two on that list, right after ending Obamacare… which tells you what kind of legal and government expert he is (i.e. none… how this guy was our attorney general still boggles the mind). Never mind our crumbling education system or infrastructure, we gotta make sure Bubba Jake can carry a loaded assault rifle with 90 rounds to pick up a burger.
Anyway, we have this great new law and businesses are starting to react. The most recent is a serious setback for the pro-gun lobby. This isn’t some uppity-elitist place like Target… it’s freaking Whataburger. For you non-Texans, Whataburger is a serious Texas institution. It’s such a famous and well-loved place, you can buy their special ketchup and pancake mix.
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. 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.
Now for the $50,000 question. Why isn’t this discrimination? Why can a business ban openly carried firearms (which are legal), but must serve homosexuals even if it’s against the business owner’s religion?
The simple reason is that of humanity. People don’t have a choice in who they love or what they look like. People do have a choice about bringing a loaded firearm into a business.
Whataburger isn’t choosing to interfere or harm people themselves. They are protecting their own interests as a business.
In fact, I will be very surprised if many more businesses don’t follow suit. Just the potential liability issues are staggering. I can see the plaintiff’s attorney saying “If you could save a life by putting up a sign, why wouldn’t you?” Yes, it’s an emotional argument, but those work in courts, especially civil cases.
By the time January 1 rolls around, I expect there to be a large number of businesses and workplaces that have quietly put up their signs that say openly carried firearms are not allowed. But if you’re not a cop and really feel the need to carry a concealed firearm at work, then I would encourage you to seriously think about your job and how to get out of it.
I’m proud of Whataburger for making this statement and doing so publicly and then taking some time to explain why. Because, it scares the crap out of people. I have to ask, what’s more important, one’s right to carry a gun, or another’s right to not have the crap scared out of them?
I’d like to take one last second to reply to a comment at one of the local papers.
What we ought to fear are government imposed infringements on our freedoms because there is no alternative or competition to the laws of the federal government.
Sir or madam, Your pitiful collection of firearms will not stop the US government if they decide to stomp you flat. You will not be shooting hellfire missiles out of the air like clay pigeons. You will not single handedly take out a M1 Tank with your 30.06. If the government ever decides to become a totalitarian nightmare and the military goes along with it, then you and me and everyone else are well and truly screwed.
And, I’ll give you one of last piece of advice. It is significantly more likely that such a government threat will come from people like Abbott and Paxton and Romney and whoever in the clown car gets the GOP nomination for president than from Obama, Sanders, Clinton, or Wendy Davis. If there is one group that is cramming their rules down people’s throats in spite of majority disagreement, it’s the Republicans.
Just because you agree with them, doesn’t mean that they aren’t totalitarian.
 Which is kind of silly, when you think about it. Are you going to go up to a guy opening displaying a legally loaded firearm and ask to see his license?