Burger chain Whataburger is taking a stance against Texas' open carry law, which was enacted this past June. President Preston Atkinson issued an open letter on the company's website and Facebook page on July 2 explaining the chain's new policy. He clearly stated that the policy was not politically motivated, but made from "a business standpoint", saying that the chain has to consider "how open carry impacts [their] 34,000+ employees and millions of customers". Atkinson very aptly pointed out that many people don't feel safe around visible firearms, and as a company who has built their reputation on being family-friendly, they "have a responsibility to make sure everyone who walks into [their] restaurants feels comfortable".
The statement did make attempts to connect with the pro-gun crows, with Atkinson professing to be a hunter himself and emphasized Whataburger's support of the Second Amendment. Still, the statement drew the predictable outrage and cries for boycotts. Founder of Open Carry Texas even accused the chain of "fear-mongering". Others praised the move. Texas Restaurant Association CEO Ritchie Jackson expects the policy will inspire other restaurants in Texas to follow suit. Jackson noted that "gun rights do not trump property rights", giving companies the right to ban openly carried guns on private property without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of the gun owner.
Whataburger isn't the first chain to respond to open carry laws with policies prohibiting openly carried firearms. Starbucks requests that customers leave their guns at home when visiting their locations, and has since 2013. Chipolte made a similar statement in 2014 after guns rights activists brought assault rifles to a Dallas restaurant as part of a demonstration.