Whataburger’s CEO recently lashed out against the new “open carry” handgun law in Texas, despite the routine violence inside his restaurants.
In the latest incident, a Whataburger customer was assaulted by two men, who brought him down to the ground and kicked him several times inside the Edinburg, Texas, Whataburger on June 26.
And just two months ago in Dallas, Texas, Whataburger was the site of a mass shooting when a man fired a stolen gun into a crowd of hundreds in front of the restaurant.
Also, earlier in January, a Florida man was shot and killed in the drive-thru lane of a Fleming Island Whataburger during an altercation.
Despite all these incidents, Whataburger’s CEO, Preston Atkinson, published a press release telling customers not to carry guns openly in their stores out of respect for customers who are “uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement.”
“From a business standpoint, though, we have to think about how open carry impacts our 34,000+ employees and millions of customers,” he wrote. “We serve customers from all walks of life at more than 780 locations, 24 hours a day, in 10 states and we’re known for a family friendly atmosphere that customers have come to expect from us.”
“We’re the gathering spot for Little League teams, church groups and high school kids after football games.”
To be fair, Atkinson said the company hasn’t prohibited licensed conceal carry, but he’s also suggesting the feelings of a soccer mom who freaks out at the sight of a gun is more important than the rights of a law-abiding citizen who can legally open carry for personal defense in Texas, which is a ridiculous claim considering that criminals routinely avoid attacking armed citizens.
Supporting the Second Amendment shouldn’t stop short of open carry; gun owners shouldn’t be treated as lepers who are expected to hide their firearms from an overly emotional public.
The Second Amendment will only get the respect it deserves once people are used to seeing guns in public and realize they don’t need to jump out of the way of a holstered gun just as they don’t need to jump out of the way of a parked car.
But if Atkinson believes his customers are safer without open carry, then why does Whataburger seem to attract so much criminal activity?
In addition to the aforementioned incidents, back in March of last year, police were called to a San Antonio-area Whataburger after a man was shot in a Whataburger parking lot at point blank range. Another deadly shooting took place at a San Antonio Whataburger last February.
Also, in June 2014 in Arlington, Texas, a Whataburger customer was shot as he attempted to enter his vehicle while two groups of people argued in the parking lot.
And apparently Whataburger employees aren’t spared from the violence, either: in May 2003, three men were arrested in connection to a robbery and subsequent shooting at a Houston Whataburger, where 38-year-old Christopher Martin Dean was gunned down while standing behind the counter.
It stands to reason Whataburger’s decision to disarm its law-abiding, open carry customers can only lead to increased bloodshed.
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