Calling all burrito lovers: If you want to eat at Chipotle, you better leave your guns at home. On Monday, Chipotle released a statement asking customers not to bring guns into any Chipotle restaurant. This news comes after advocates for gun rights entered a Texas Chipotle with assault rifles, and proceeded to take a photo of two men with the military-style weapons. The photo went viral, and prompted a group known as "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America" to start a petition on Monday, calling for Chipotle, as well as other stores and restaurants, to ban guns.
According to a press release from the group, more than 10,000 people signed the petition. Chipotle responded within 24 hours of the social media campaign launch. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold released the following statement:
Recently, participants from an "open carry" demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort.We are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
Although some state do allow citizens to carry guns with a proper license, businesses have the right to ban firearms from their stores. Chipotle isn't the first major chain to exercise that right by asking customers to leave weapons at home. Starbucks had to close a store in Newtown, Conn. last year, at least temporarily, at the risk of having advocates of gun rights demonstrating there. We all know the significance of Newtown, and so does Starbucks.
However, the company didn't actually ban firearms from its locations because they don't want to put employees in a situation where they'll have to ask someone possessing a firearm to leave one of the cafés.
Since the gun photo went viral, another gun safety group called "Everytown," which is backed by former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, started the Twitter campaign #BurritosNotBullets. On Monday, the group celebrated with this tweet:
Shannon Watts, of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, released their own statement Monday.
Moms are grateful to Chipotle for taking quick action today to stand up for the safety and security of our families. Businesses have a duty to protect their employees and patrons - especially in states where no background checks or training are required to buy semi-automatic rifles and carry them in public. Chipotle's statement that firearms are not welcome in their restaurants is bold and meaningful - it shows that you can support the Second Amendment while also taking reasonable measures to ensure that Americans are safe and secure in the places we take our children.
In Chipotle's statement, the company recognized "there are strong arguments on both sides of the issue," and said they hoped "our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle."