Sonic and Chili's have asked customers to not bring firearms into their establishments across the nation. According to Forbes, both chains released statements on Friday requesting that even if customers have open carry permits, that they refrain from carrying the guns into the restaurants. Sonic and Chili's attribute this policy to wanting to maintain a pleasant atmosphere for its patrons: In a statement a spokesperson for Brinker International, Chili's parent company notes, "We recognize that the open carry of firearms in restaurants creates an uncomfortable atmosphere and is not permitted under many local liquor laws."
The decision comes after videos were released of members of Open Carry Texas being kicked out of both a Sonic and Chili's in San Antonio last month for carrying firearms. After the incidents, Reuters notes that both companies came under pressure "from gun control groups to issue a no-firearm policy." While Chili's parent company previously noted that it was "considering" an outright ban of guns, the company decided to request customers not openly carry guns into its restaurants instead. Open Carry Texas has asked members to "immediately cease taking long guns into corporate businesses unless invited."
Chili's and Sonic are joining a growing list of restaurants that have asked customers to refrain from openly carrying firearms into its locations. Last September, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote an open letter that also did not ban firearms, but requested that customers no longer bring them into the stores. Wendy's, Jack in the Box, Applebee's, and Chipotle also have similar policies.
While gun control groups have applauded the decision, Gun Save Lives notes that the day Sonic announced its new policy, a location in Kansas was robbed in broad daylight. The blog also adds that a Jack in a Box "saw several of their restaurants robbed in a matter of weeks" after announcing its new policy. For people that really want to mix guns and food, they can head to this gun range in Oklahoma City with a newly minted liquor license.
· Home Depot Allows Open Carry Gun Rally As Sonic, Chili's Review Policies [Forbes]
· Sonic, Chili's ask Customers to Keep Guns out of Restaurants [Reuters]
· Sonic Robbed On Same Day They Asked Customers to Leave Legal Guns at Home [Guns Save Lives]
· All Gun Coverage on Eater [-E-]