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Flying in the face of new Texas legislation allowing citizens to openly carry handguns in the state, Whataburger has said it won't allow the open carrying of firearms in any of its locations. Predictably, gun activists reacted with hysteria, promising to boycott the restaurant.
Not everyone was on the boycott bandwagon, however. For example, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America supported the move and has been successful in getting other restaurant chains to follow suit.
Although Texas' open carry law allows licensed gun owners to open carry certain guns in public places, it also permits private property owners to prohibit open carry on their property. As Texas Restaurant Association CEO Richie Jackson told the Associated Press, "gun rights do not trump property rights."
But the policy won't ban all guns from Whataburger. The chain's president and CEO Preston Atkinson, an avid hunter and concealed-carry license holder himself, said that those licensed to carry concealed handguns would still be allowed to do so in his restaurants, but that customers may be "uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm."
State gun control laws vary widely, especially on open and concealed-carry issues. However, the trend is showing more states allowing open carry. After Texas passed its open carry law, only five states (California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina) and Washington, D.C. still ban openly carrying firearms.
On the flip side, the Texas statute won't necessarily recreate the Wild, Wild, West -- the law still prohibits you from openly carrying in your car, on your boat, at school sporting events, in jails, in hospitals, at amusement parks, in churches or synagogues, and at government meetings. No word on when boycotts of those places and events will begin.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.