Eaters take note: you’re welcome to order a burrito at Chipotle, but don’t plan on bringing your bullets.
While it may seem odd that a restaurant has to state that it doesn’t want diners to bring guns as a side to their meal, that’s what Chipotle recently had to do, in response to a social media blitz surrounding the issue of gun rights activists openly displaying assault rifles at a Dallas location.
“Recently, participants from an ‘open carry’ demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort,” said Chipotle’s Chris Arnold in statement. “We are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.”
Photos of the gun rights activists from Open Carry Texas standing outside of a Chipotle location holding assault rifles went viral after a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which was formed after the mass shootings at Sandy Hook, reposted them. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America ran the photo along with the hashtag #BurritosNotBullets.
Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) May 19, 2014
Chipotle joins other restaurants and stores, like Starbucks and Target, that have banned open carry within their establishments. According to the Daily Beast, there’s a bit of tension even between the individual open carry groups in Texas.
Along with Open Carry Texas, Texas Carry, and the aptly named Come and Take it Texas, Open Carry Tarrant County is fighting, sometimes at cross purposes with the others, to strengthen and exercise their Second Amendment rights in public. “To each his own, as long as we’re on the same boat fighting for the same message,” said Kory Watkins, a spokesman for Tarrant County.
“They’re their own organization,” said C.J. Grisham, who leads the larger Open Carry Texas organization, of Watkins’s group. “We do things the way that works for us and they do things the way that works for them…There are people that don’t agree they should have to call the police when they go out and do an armed event. And we do.”
Open carry activists from Open Carry Texas are so adamant about their right to carry arms, that if Chipotle won’t have them, they won’t go. “We’re going to honor what Chipotle put out. We’re not going to carry our guns if we aren’t welcome. We just won’t go to Chipotle,” C.J. Grisham, who leads the larger Open Carry Texas organization, told the Daily Beast. “Our members refuse to eat anywhere where we can’t defend ourselves.”
The fact that Chipotle was challenged to take a stand on the issue of gun rights is new for the fast food chain. “The issue of gun ownership or gun rights has become one of the most contentious debates in the country. Chipotle has never taken a position on this issue, as we focus instead on our mission to change the way people think about and eat fast food,” Arnold wrote in his statement. But with the push from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and its social media campaign, Chipotle has been forced to, at the very least, acknowledge that guns in their establishments make customers uncomfortable.
Ultimately, Chipotle believes that this is an issue to be left up to the government, stating that “we hope customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.”
Photo Credit: Insider Monkey