Panera Says Leave Your Gun At Home, If You Want To Enjoy Its Bread Bowls

Gun owners in open-carry states can exercise their Second Amendment right everywhere they go, including Target, Starbucks, and Chipotle. Now, these establishments are taking a stand against the presence of deadly weapons on their premises, and Panera is the latest to join the gun protest — yup, Panera, the bakery/café. 

Panera announced Monday that it would be "respectfully requesting" that customers not pack heat when dining at the eatery, but that it would continue to follow state and local firearms laws. The company released a full statement on its new request:

Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.

The move comes after "months of discussions" with gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, which was formed in response to the Newtown, Connecticut massacre. The group has been campaigning to fight the contentious open carry law, arguing that guns should not be carried in stores, restaurants, or any public space.

On the other hand, open-carry supporters are pushing to shift society's attitudes on guns and make them socially acceptable. The official slogan for opencarry.org is, "A right unexercised is a right lost." 

So by that logic, by the fact that I don't go around criticizing celebrities and politicians, I'm squandering my First Amendment rights? Also, should we be bringing all our belongings everywhere just because we're legally permitted to? Hey, carrying a rolling pin could come in handy under the right circumstances, but I'm not gonna take one with me to Quiznos.

Fully aware of the absurdity of carrying lethal weapons into a bread shop, Panera is saying, "Enough is enough." I mean, really. What threat awaits behind the soup station that prompts someone to bring their Smith & Wesson when they want to treat their kids to the Broccoli Cheddar Bread Bowl? Is this what goes through their minds?

Really Sharp Stale Bread

Have you ever been stabbed by a really sharp piece of rye? It's no laughing matter. Imagine if a crazy person started wielding baguettes.

Scalding Hot Soup

Same thing goes with soup assailants. It'd be crazy not to bring protection when the threat of minestrone looms.

A Full-Scale Food Fight

"Put down the Asian chicken salad."

Crazed Panera Employees

Because you'd have to be mad to want to work in that freshly-baked-bread-smelling environment, right?

It'd be insane to think you'd need a gun while wandering Panera — or Starbucks, Chipotle, or a number of other establishments forced to explicitly ask customers not to carry guns in stores. The right to bring a firearm into a bread store isn't a right worth protesting.

Images: Mike Mozart/Flickr, Panera Bread

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