Chipotle has become the latest national chain that's politely requesting its customers not carry firearms inside restaurant locations. The backstory: Over the weekend, more than 20 activists from Open Carry Texas brought guns into a Dallas-area Chipotle store, proclaiming that the burrito chain "welcomed" open carry. The event caught the attention of another activist group — Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America — who quickly launched a petition asking Chipotle to change its gun policy.
In a statement released this afternoon, Chipotle announced that because the demonstration caused "anxiety and discomfort" among other customers, that it's "respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel."
The Chipotle statement continues: "Historically, we felt it enough to simply comply with local laws regarding the open or concealed carrying of firearms, because we believe that it is not fair to put our team members in the uncomfortable position of asking that customers refrain from bringing guns into our restaurants. However, because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers, we think it is time to make this request." The AP notes that Chipotle would not confirm if the "request" was an outright ban, as requested by the Moms Demand Action petition. (It argues that "most Chipotle locations serve alcohol, setting up a potentially dangerous mix," and that safety is paramount in a family-friendly chain.)
Chipotle's no-gun request sparked by Open Carry Texas closely follows an incident earlier this month, when activists carrying guns scared employees at a Fort Worth-area Jack in the Box. The fast-food workers, thinking the men were entering the store to rob it, hid in the restaurant's freezer and called police.