A Texas-based burger chain, Whatabuger
, with 780 locations in 10 states including three in Arkansas (not including a similarly named burger joint in Russellville), has announced it won't allow open carry of guns
on its properties. What's more, an AP report on the development
quotes restaurant industry people as saying many others are likely to take the same approach.
In an open letter on the company's website, Whataburger president and CEO Preston Atkinson said many employees and customers are "uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm." He described himself as an avid hunter with a concealed-carry license and noted that patrons licensed to carry concealed handguns will still be able to do so in Whataburger.
Texas recently enacted an open-carry law. A legal disagreement continues on whether open carry is allowed in Arkansas. Open carry advocates contend a bill intended to clean up language about when people were allowed to take weapons on "journeys" — inadvertently or by stealthy intent — actually legalized open carry. Some cases are working through the court system, with differing opinions on the matter. It's indisputable that the 2013 legislature, which passed the law now being claimed to have allowed open carry, decisively defeated specific open carry legislation.
Rep. Nate Bell,
will you vow not to patronize Whataburger, as you've vowed not to patronize Uber because of its no-firearm policy? Maybe allowing concealed weapons makes it OK.
The Texas law makes it clear that private property rights trump the gun law.