There’s a lot of politicizing and anger over Whataburger’s decision to not allow open carry inside its restaurants. Moms Demand Action is proclaiming from the rooftops it was their advocacy which caused Whataburger to end open carry.
Whataburger initially prohibited open carry last June after the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action repeatedly urged the company to change its policy through social media and by making numerous calls to the corporate headquarters.
There’s just one problem with this statement: it might be a lie. There’s no actual mention on either Whataburger’s website or Moms Demand Action’s website of an open carry ban in June 2014. It doesn’t exist. There’s no mention of Whataburger banning open carry on either website in June 2015. In fact, Whataburger President and CEO Preston Atkinson says the open carry ban has existed for a long time (emphasis mine):
Whataburger supports customers’ Second Amendment rights and we respect your group’s position, 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…
It would be nice if Atkinson defined “a long time,” but it’s important to note he made sure to point out no specific group caused the policy to be put in place. Atkinson even says customers and employees didn’t want to see people openly carry who weren’t law enforcement. That doesn’t completely blow the Moms Demand Action narrative out of the water, but it does make it a little less likely Moms Demand had major involvement in the decision. If Atkinson is lying, there’s no evidence of it at the moment.
Sadly, the reaction by the mainstream media and the right is almost as bad as MDA’s, if not worse. The AP claimed, “Whataburger takes stand against Texas’ new open carry law,” without providing any factual evidence. Their story flat-out ignores Atkinson’s “a long time” and “we have not prohibited licensed conceal carry” statements. Newsweek was just as bad with its headline “Whataburger to Armed Customers: Keep Your Guns at Home,” which is entirely false. Concealed carry is welcomed in Whataburger, as the company said in their statement. People on the right took to Twitter saying Whataburger was “defying TX law” by not allowing open carry and claimed they were being anti-Texan. They also promised to boycott Whataburger and take their service to another burger chain. But that’s buying into the possible lie by Moms Demand Action hook, line, and sinker without bothering to make sure it was true. It’s just sad how people reacted instead of looking at the details.
There needs to be a little historical perspective on Texas and guns. The state didn’t allow concealed carry until 1995. In fact, Ann Richards lost the 1994 governor’s election to George W. Bush because of her veto of a concealed carry bill. That bill was introduced after the infamous 1991 Luby’s shooting in Killeen, which left 23 dead. Suzanna Hupp, the anti-Shannon Watts who later became a Texas state representative, told the Legislature she probably could have stopped the Luby’s shooting if the law allowed her to concealed carry. Her gun was in her car 100 feet away from where she was in Luby’s when bullets started flying. So Texas’ gun-friendly legislative attitude has only existed for 20 years.
Whataburger doesn’t get much credit for welcoming customers practicing concealed carry in their restaurants, which considering the current climate is pretty amazing. They’re still gun friendly, even if they’re wrong on open carry, but that’s a business decision based on customer response, as Atkinson correctly notes. It’s well within Whataburger’s right to say no to open carry, but yes to concealed carry, because they’re a private business.
There’s an even bigger point to all this everyone needs to realize and remember. The left’s Whataburger stance shows just how hypocritical they actually are. They’re perfectly fine with Whataburger not allowing open carry, but look at how absolutely bonkers they go and lose their collective minds when private businesses give answers which don’t fit the left’s agenda. Remember how they reacted to Memories Pizza in Indiana or Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon? The private businesses were excoriated for acting like a private business. Memories Pizza temporarily closed. Sweet Cakes was sued and shut down. Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver is facing a similar suit for denying service. The left will cheer on companies for appearing to go along with them, but they’ll run for the lawyers if companies don’t. The right has to be willing to point this stuff out and make the left defend their hypocrisy. Put them on the defensive. Turn the questions around. Force the left to actually get outside their, “oh we’ve got a friendly media which will always defend us” and actually have to provide a response. The biggest part of the entire Whataburger thing isn’t the private business’ stance on open carry. It’s showed just how hypocritical the left actually is.
Taylor Millard’s opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinion of anyone else, any company he may or may not work for (so MYOFBYK), or anyone at HotAir. He can be found on Twitter @TaylorMVLR. .