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Chili’s and Sonic became the latest national chains to join the gun debate on Friday by announcing that firearms are no longer welcome in their restaurants. The two restaurants are asking customers to not openly carry firearms inside, the same thing that Chipotle announced earlier this month.
The Huffington Post is reporting that both Chili’s and Sonic feel very strongly about enforcing this policy. “We recognize that the open carry of firearms creates an uncomfortable atmosphere and is not permitted under many local liquor laws,” said Ashley Johnson, who is a spokeswoman for Brinker International, Chili’s parent company. Johnson would go on to say that she hopes that customers will respect the new policy and refrain from carrying firearms in the restaurants.
The vice-president of public relations for Sonic, Patrick Lenow, said that Sonic will defer to local laws regarding people having firearms in their vehicles, but said that carrying firearms in the dining area is forbidden. MSNBC is also reporting that Sonic reviewed several policies and they decided this was the best action to take involving this issue.
The decision to enforce this new policy has been an ongoing issue, especially when last month members of the Second Amendment advocacy group Open Carry Texas brought long rifles and AK-47s into Chili’s and Sonic restaurants and were immediately asked to leave. The president of Open Carry Texas CJ Grisham said that the group would comply with the new policy.
Chipotle, Chili’s and Sonic are also joining Starbucks in the no-gun policy, as Starbucks asked their customers to leave their guns at home following several rallies at a store in wake of the 2012 mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut.