A restaurant owner in Portland, Maine is defending herself after posting a status update to Facebook which banned any customers who owned or condoned the ownership of AR-15 guns.
The post came in the wake of a shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people were killed by a shooter reportedly bearing an "AR-15-type assault rifle." According to Maine's NECN, the post on the Facebook page for Grace restaurant, which has since been taken down, read: "If you own this gun, or you condone the ownership of this gun for private use, you may no longer enter either of my restaurants, because the only thing I want to teach my children is love."
The post was met with several negative comments and eventually removed. Yesterday, Grace owner Anne Verrill updated the restaurant's Facebook page with a new status, defending her initial proclamation.
"I don't want to take away guns of responsible gun owners," she wrote. "I don't care if you have 12 hunting rifles if you are a responsible hunter. I want people to not have the power to own weapons of war. I want our government to be able to deny someone they can put on the 'no fly' lists to not buy a semi-automatic weapon. If you do not understand why I do not want a weapon designed to kill at that kind of rate of speed in my restaurants then there is nothing I can do about that."
In response to those suggesting a boycott of her restaurant, Verrill wrote, "If evil and hate want to boycott my restaurants then so be it because I believe good will be on my side on this. As long as my doors are open I will believe that love is love. And when my children ask me where I was on this, I will say I was right there, fighting for a better world for us and for all those people who lost their lives."
The new post has already received more than 250 comments, many of them negative. One commenter suggested that "the price we pay for living in a free and open society is that people are free to kill you," while another proclaimed Merrill was "a moron" who had "successfully committed suicide for [her] business." The negative comments that she received on her original post, wrote Merrill, "validate [her] fear."
Meanwhile, gun owners are welcomed with open arms at plenty of other restaurants, with some even offering discounts to customers who open-carry.