Another popular chain placates anti-gun group Moms Demand Action. Panera Bread, a place that says customers go in to “catch a breath,” is asking customers to keep their guns in their cars. Moms Demand Action’s founder, Shannon Watts says, “…After months of discussions between Panera and Moms Demand Action, Panera is taking a proactive position in favor of our families’ safety by putting a new gun policy in place.” However, as with Starbucks, Moms Demand Action is falsely reporting its so-called victory. The public request from Panera Bread headquarters is just a way to get the demanding Moms off its back. Panera Bread is in fact, not changing company policy. The sandwich maker says its request is simply that—the company will still follow local and state laws in regards to carrying a firearm into its restaurants. A spokesperson for Panera said it would also not ask employees to enforce the request.
Moms Demand Action likes to publicly celebrate what they call a win for gun control when a company the group has pressured publicly asks gun owners to refrain from carrying inside its stores. Last year, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, after an enormous amount of pressure from Moms, released a statement requesting customers not carry inside its coffee shops. Mom’s official statement to the letter reads, “… Starbucks is announcing that the company will no longer allow guns on its property, both inside and outside of its stores.” When in actuality, Schultz’s letter says, “…This is a request and not an outright ban.” Where legal, it is still okay to carry inside Starbucks. Same with Target, Chili’s, Staples, Home Depot, Kroger and Chipotle—all places Moms Demand Action have claimed changed its firearms policies or pushed the company to ban firearms. However, all six places have said they will continue to follow all local and state laws, even though they request gun owners leave their guns at home. The only two restaurants caving to the Mom’s are Sonic and Jack in the Box, which have revised its firearms policies.
Do not let the Mom’s fool you—these establishments aren’t banning gun owners, or gun owner’s business. In Panera’s case, as CEO Ron Shaich pointed out, the request is a way for the restaurant to decline becoming politically involved in a debate, while still respecting gun owner’s legal rights. This is just a hunch, but I suspect most places targeted by the Moms are trying to form as neutral ground as possible, not wanting to deny business—and money—from anyone and are asking gun owners to “leave their guns in the car” just to stop the harassment from the anti-gun group.
As gun owners, we need not spend our money with companies that support gun control, but there is a big difference between saying something nice to placate a group of hoplophobes and an outright ban on guns. If you have a local, 2A-supportive coffee shop in town, by all means, get your daily cup of Joe there. However, if you have no other choice or just dying for a pumpkin spice latte, there is no law banning you from keeping strapped while ordering your Starbucks.
What do you think about restaurants and grocery stores requesting customers to refrain from carrying firearms inside, but not banning firearms? Are you still visiting these places? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.