Is it legal to open carry long arms into restaurants? Yes. Should it be socially acceptable? Yes. is it socially acceptable? NO. Are you helping? NO! Are you making things worse? YES! Should you stop being a dumb shit? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!First, let us be clear - for an allegedly gun-friendly state, Texas gun laws are just plain weird. From restricting Open Carry to only long guns to making "printing" a criminal offense, stupid abounds.
- Scribbler of Scribbler's Scrawls
Sadly, stupid is not limited to legislators in Texas. Or even to the anti-gun community.
Within the gun community there exists the Open Carry community (and many others). Within the Open Carry community there exists a yet smaller and as yet not officially named community (at least politely) that I'll call, in lieu of "blazing idiots", the Counterproductive Reason After Passion Crowd (or CRAP-crowd).
Now, Texas is a special case because of their eccentric laws around open carry so I try and cut both the state and its inhabitants an extra dose of slack.
However, when even C.J. Grisham distances himself from a group of nimrods, it merits taking notice. When the Facebook and Gun Blogger community unite (either uniting is unusual - both is well nigh as common as additional comings of Christ), it becomes a near-certain conclusion that someone has screwed up on a fairly stellar basis - say, like persuading a national restaurant chain to ban firearms and those who lawfully carry them.
While virtually every story on this topic that I've read has been lifted in part or in full from a Moms Demand Action (a wholly owned Bloomberg subsidiary not particularly know for accuracy or veracity) press release and I've yet to see a genuine Chipotle's policy document ABC offers enough of a hint (along with the photo evidence from Forbes of a post by one Alfonso Decampo that appears to have since vanished from FaceBook down the memory hole) that I tend to believe these folks *really are* that foolish, counterproductive and inconsiderate.
Others appear to agree. Marko Kloos, a well know firearms rights advocate comments "Look, all I'm saying is that if you just have to carry your Tapco-ed out SKS on a single-point sling at the salad bar in Chipotle, you're not a Second Amendment activist, you're a Gun Aspie. Put the SKS back under the bed in your room next to the ninja swords, get back on Xbox Live, and STAY THE FUCK OFF MY SIDE."
Noted blogger Tamara of Books, Bikes & Boomsticks notes "There's a difference between just carrying a gun and carrying a gun AT people. It should be as nonchalant as an article of clothing. I have never said to myself "Woo-hoo! I'm wearing PANTS in Greasy Joe's Dixie Bar And Grill! Someone take my picture in these PANTS!"
I like open carry (though I'm not up for the "shoot me first" tactical considerations, nor the "be the good ambassador" schtick leading me to conceal most of the time). But there's a right way to do it (you either aren't noticed or you have mostly polite folks asking questions) and a wrong way to do it (usually indicated by the results you get). And the difference isn't *that* hard to figure out.
I could go on, but it's fair to say we've established that responsible gun-owning adults view the actions of the CRAP-crowd as counterproductive at best and more often not imbecilic in the bargain.
Is this dippery a get out of jail free card for Chipotle? Is a response of "some gun owners behaved badly, so now we'll bar all carry - including concealed and responsible open carry - from our facilities" appropriate?
Not so much. Let's look at responses Chipotle (and lest we forget, Starbucks) could have made:
Ideal response: "We recognize that just like any community that firearms owners have their share of inconsiderate morons. We have banned these two individuals from all our facilities and would encourage other businesses to join us in this action, just as we would any other individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel at risk of violence or stupidity-driven injury. We recognize that these persons are not representative of law-abiding gun-owners or any other responsible person."
Better Response: "We regret the necessity to post our facilities against imbecilic behaviour. The sign below will be appearing at all of our locations soon.We apologize to our law-abiding and adult customers for any offense."
Fair Response: "Visible display of firearms is prohibited on all of our properties. Violations of this policy will result in law enforcement being called to remove the offender with fullest prosecution sought, to the extent of local law and a permanent ban from all our facilities."
Bad Response: "We request our customers and visitors do not bring firearms into any of our facilities." (i.e., non-binding beyond perhaps trespass)
Worst Response: "Posession or carry of firearms by any person except an authorized law enforcement officer is forbidden on our properties and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." (Legally binding posting, etc)
Given that Chipotle's chose either "Bad" or "Worst" (details yet to be discovered), I don't think they get a pass under the "simply because one party is a jerk, this does not give all other parties carte blanche for their own innate jerk-hood" policy.
I don't find being punished, penalized or pushed around as a result of the twit-hood of others remotely amusing. I don't much care to visit places where I feel unwelcome (for whatever reason) and as a person that typically carries (concealed where legal) I feel Chipotle's has withdrawn the welcome mat - that neither I nor my dollars are welcome there.
Finally, I'm not a huge fan of bigotry - and, at the end of the day, that's what the "Bad" and "Worst" policies boil down to, bigotry pure and simple. To bar an entire class of individuals based on the bad behavior of a few speaks to an irrational fear or hatred of that group - I'm not amused at signs indicating "No Colored," nor "No Faggots," nor one whit more amused by signs of the "No Guns Allowed" variety...they all fit in the same drawer (labelled "irrational bigotry") in my file cabinet and merit the same range of response as circumstances allow.