Popular food chain Chipotle is the latest restaurant to earn the ire of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is launching a campaign to force the company to prohibit firearms at its locations.
The group, funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, launched a national petition Monday calling on Steve Ells, chief executive officer of Chipotle, to ban guns in his restaurants. The call to action comes after Open Carry Texas, a pro-Second Amendment group, conducted an “armed trip” to a Chipotle near Dallas, Texas.
“Moms want to know that when we take our families out to eat burritos, we won’t be confronted with bullets,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement.
Moms Demand Action first called on Chipotle to denounce Open Carry Texas’ “armed trip” in a Facebook post on the company’s page. A Chipotle representative told the group that the restaurant complies with local laws but recognizes differing opinions on the Second Amendment.
The gun control organization, though, was not pleased with the Mexican food chain’s response and is demanding Ells prohibit firearms from Chipotle restaurants. In addition to the petition, it is asking supporters to call attention to its campaign by using #BurritosNotBullets.
“Chipotle’s response is just not good enough,” Moms Demand Action’s petition states. “They have a responsibility to keep their customers safe — especially our children and families.”
The Bloomberg-back group pointed to protests against other restaurant chains, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Jack in the Box, in which they called for bans on firearms there.
“We support the Second Amendment but we also need to feel safe and secure in the places we take our children. In states where no background checks or training are required to buy semi-automatic rifles and carry them openly in public, businesses have a duty to protect their employees and patrons,” Watts said. “That’s why we are calling on Chipotle and other businesses to follow Starbucks’ lead and make a clear statement that firearms are not welcome in their restaurants.”
Texas law permits open carry of handguns, rifles and shotguns, but only those older than 18 are allowed to purchase a firearm. Those looking to purchase a gun in Texas are subject to federal background checks.
Moms Demand Action cited an incident at a Texas Jack in the Box in which employees were so “terrified,” they “locked themselves in the freezer” as cause for Chipotle to prohibit firearms.
Jack in the Box, though, said earlier this month no such thing happened and argued police were incorrect in reporting the instance.
Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham told Forbes the group always alerts managers before they arrive and “try very hard to make people feel comfortable.” The group’s policy, he said, is to have an unarmed person ask permission for them to eat at the restaurant first and warn both staff and customers.
“We’re peaceful,” he said, “we’re looking for a place to eat, but we have guns. If we’re not welcome, we’re not going to spend money there.”
Chipotle has yet to announce whether it will change its policy in allowing firearms in its restaurants. As of publication, the restaurant chain adheres to state laws regarding open carry.
Update: The AP reports that “Chipotle is asking customers not to bring firearms into its stores after it says gun rights advocates brought military-style assault rifles into one of its restaurants in Texas.” Update here.