Last week, Whataburger President and CEO Preston Atkinson posted a letter to the food chain's website addressing their policies concerning firearms in their locations. The company, like many others, does not allow its customers to carry visible firearms into its buildings.
This doesn't sit well with all gun owners, some of whom feel that a Texas-based company like Whataburger should do more to stand up for open carry rights.
The company's decision caused a bit of an online buzz when the website BuzzPo obtained the directive telling employees to turn away armed customers.
"Whataburger supports customers' Second Amendment rights and we respect your group's position," Atkinson's letter begins, "but we haven't allowed the open carry of firearms in our restaurants for a long time (although we have not prohibited licensed conceal carry). It's a business decision we made a long time ago and have stood by, and I think it's important you know why."
He says, "We have to think about how open carry impacts our 34,000+ employees and millions of customers. 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.
"We've had many customers and employees tell us they're uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement, and as a business, we have to listen and value that feedback in the same way we value yours. We have a responsibility to make sure everyone who walks into our restaurants feels comfortable. For that reason, we don't restrict licensed concealed carry but do ask customers not to open carry in our restaurants.
Atkinson also assures customers that he is, generally speaking, pro-gun ownership . "I want you to know we proudly serve the gun rights community. I personally enjoy hunting and also have my concealed carry license, as do others at Whataburger."