Is It Really Cool To Take Your Rifle Into A Bar/Store/Restaurant?

Updated: June 5, 2014


By RU Twisted

You know what subject instigates more debate quicker than gun control? I don’t, so let me know if you think of one.

The recent news about the group “Moms Demand Action” insisting that private restaurants and bars ban the carry of firearms on their premises—and how chains like Starbucks, Chilis, and Sonic have given in to the pressure—offers an interesting aspect of the debate on gun control. The efforts of groups such as MDM and other Bloomberg-funded entities are becoming more organized and this seems to be one of the areas on which they have chosen to focus.

While most discourse on the topic of firearms legislation amounts to “RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE BLLLLERRRRRRRRRGGHGH!!!” I think we can provide some pointed insights into this subject, as it offers a chance to discuss something of great importance.

The interest group mentioned above, whose full name is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, has claimed victory in placing a great deal of pressure on restaurant chains like Chipotle, Starbucks, and a few others. These establishments have in turn told customers that they are not welcome to carry firearms on their property.

Unfortunately, the knee-jerk reaction by many gun rights advocates has been to do super smart things like showing up at these restaurants with AK47s or fly off at the mouth with incendiary rhetoric about “dey took R guns!” This is about as useful to society as Gwenyth Paltrow’s career and is not helping anyone.

Here’s the deal: I am for personal freedom. Point of fact, in regards to this particular subject, I believe there should be zero laws regarding firearms. I can argue that logically and the evidences back up that very ideology. But that is in some ways a distraction from the real issue here.


Look at her…..gun.

What is ultimately of importance here is the freedom of private businesses to enact rules of their choosing and the ability of people to vote in a way of far greater effect than choosing a political candidate—with the power of money. This topic is a perfect example of how things should work and, unfortunately, where things go sideways in our current political climate.

Consider this scenario: a large group of people get together and say that they don’t want Joe’s Burger House to allow people without shoes into the restaurant, as it spoils their dining experience through smelly feet and sights of gangrenous toenails. The group gets quite large and, after much protest, convinces Joe that he would lose a lot of business if he didn’t make a rule about shoes in his eatery. So Joe makes it a policy that, in order to eat his tasty burgers, one must have shoes on. The large group is now happy, continues to dine at Joe’s Burger House, and the only people who are upset are those who probably don’t go in restaurants all that often anyway.

In a word—perfect. That’s how it’s supposed to work. I may agree that lack of shoes are not a threat to a decent dining experience, but I also have a great deal of respect for the private business owner to cater to his customers. If there should happen to be a large number of shoeless burger eaters in need of a place to eat, no doubt there will be a burger joint that will open nearby and fill that need.

But let’s say that this group, emboldened by their success with Joe’s Burger House, decides that it’s really not cool for anyone, anywhere, at any time to eat in a public restaurant without shoes. They know they don’t have the numbers to influence every restaurant with their dollars because there aren’t enough of them to do that.

What they do have enough numbers for is influencing a politician—maybe even one with a lot of clout or money (aren’t they the same thing in politics these days?) who can influence others who hold similar ideologies. The group who advocates for “Common Sense Shoe Reform” in restaurants doesn’t have enough money to affect the entire restaurant economy, but they have enough resources to change one, which means they have enough to help one politician from getting elected (or preventing one from doing the same).

From this flows an array of dizzying statistics and numbers about shoeless health hazards that, even with cursory examination, prove to be absolutely ludicrous but amazingly successful in convincing others of supporting legislation and/or legislators who champion the idea of eliminating shoelessness in restaurants “for the safety of the children.” As a result, a law (or most likely a multitude of laws) are passed that ensure you and your family never have to witness another horrifyingly unshoed foot whilst you slobber down your burger ever again.

Open-CarryThe problem here, of course, is twofold: one, that the government was involved when it didn’t need to be, and two, that the choice is now removed from the private business. They now no longer have the ability to cater to the shoeless burger-eater demographic even if they wish to do so.

Regardless of how silly you may think the analogy is, this is exactly where the debate on firearms in food service establishments is going. The group Apoplectic Overreacting Moms Moms Demand Action and their benefactor will not stop at simply applying consumer-based pressure on businesses like Chipotle and Starbucks—especially when McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts have both publically stated “no thanks” in response to MDM and their requests. Clearly these rogue billionaires who obviously want mass murder in their stores need to be controlled by our noble betters in the legislature. Or…something.

The takeaway here is that groups aiming for change like this will continue to push for laws that, in the end, will only succeed in further restrictions on businesses and how they operate, thus inhibiting their ability to adjust properly for market needs, wants, and desires. Just as importantly, they will ultimately fail at the original intent—keeping patrons of these businesses “safe” from the bogeyman.

What is not an effective response to groups such as these, however, is strapping a battle rifle on to go get yourself a burrito and a vanilla latte. Understand the realities of “freedom” in the sense that it absolutely applies to privately owned businesses and property, and you’re not helping anything by sporting your black rifle while stuffing your face with the latest offering from the franchise chain in your neighborhood.

So be smart and approach this topic with intelligence, logic, and always, always think of the children.*



*My understanding is that any speech, article, or even quote about guns/gun control will be taken 1,047 times** more seriously if it includes something about thinking of the children.

**I came up with this number via an algorithm using George Dickel rye whiskey, a Commodore 64, and the plot outline from Sharknado, so I feel it’s pretty accurate.





  1. leftoftheboom

    June 5, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I love my guns and I carry them frequently, well, nearly everywhere, but no one knows that because they are not there as a status symbol, they are there, if necessary, for my safety and that of my family. And in quite a few years I have never had to make anyone aware that they were present. This does not mean that I intend to leave them at home, it is simply that I have self affirmation that I have been going about my business with proper regards to my environment.

    Part of the problem is that there is far too much emotion and not enough dispassionate logic in the debate. As stated, the knee jerk reaction removes common sense. Every time I read something like this it reminds me of Call for Fire training, gross over corrections until you narrow down your target. That works fine for artillery, provided you have time, but not so much in the real world because frankly, you can shake any given bush and find one kind of nut or the other who will do anything for attention.

    The Government however, needs to stay out of it. Consumer demand can address this and businesses will accept or deny the patrons who exhibit behavior patterns that the majority of their customers don’t want, that is simple market economy.

    Getting government involved is just going to make more stupid laws piled upon other stupid laws that end up being contradictory and ultimately unenforceable. Which in turn leads to legal challenges to further confuse the issue as pundits without a clue weigh in on the issue from their massive ivory towers of ignorance.

    Bottom line, if you want to take your black rifle to town and it is legal to do so, go ahead. If a business does not want your patronage because you make the other customers nervous, that is their right to refuse you service. Leave it at that.

    • Dempsey Darrow

      June 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      One of the most thoughtful, well written, and meaningful posts I’ve read in the comments section.

  2. Gunship Load

    June 5, 2014 at 8:57 am

    So, was this a posting about regulation/deregulating the need for shoes in a restaurant, or making good decisions about where to carry your scary black gun?

    Even the NRA said that the idea of open carry rallies where people are carrying long guns is absurd, and I agree with them. There was recently an open carry rally in my area that said long guns were not allowed. There were also several self inflicted rules about the rules you were to follow about carrying a pistol…
    1. Leave it in your holster.
    2. Don’t touch it, unless to shoot in self defense.

    Realistically, who among us carries a long gun in a manner that is not threatening. Hell, port arms is an intimidating stance for the low informed civilian.

    I am all in favor of concealed and open carry, especially on our military istallations, and I hope that the civilian laws in my state are changed to allow open carry. Crazy people tend to be less crazy when they are faced with the reality of other people having guns.

    On the other hand, if this was a post about going shoeless in a restaurant… People, cover your feet!

    • Mr. Twisted

      June 5, 2014 at 3:27 pm


      This was actually my subversive attempt at eliminating shoelessness from the planet. I “final solution” — ahem — will include “reeducation camps” for those who believe going without shoes is a good idea.

      • leftoftheboom

        June 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm

        I would support the crafting of little tiny five slot guillotines for the offenders.

        Bring a whole new meaning to “this little piggy went to market.”

        • Patty Crack 'N Pack

          June 8, 2014 at 12:26 am

          Then I’m launching shoeless eating rallies. We shall not be silenced.

    • leftoftheboom

      June 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      You bring up a good point. You can wear a pistol, even openly, and while it might be seen as threatening, it is stable and not directly confrontational so long as your hands are not on it. Placing your hands on it would, IMO, constitute an escalation of force.

      There is simply to carry a rifle, unless it is slung across your back, that is not threatening because your hands are on the weapon.

      By walking with your hands on the weapon, you are sending the mental cue that you are ready to use it and the next escalation is deadly. I don’t want a law that says not to do it; I would prefer it be solved by common sense or at least market pressures instead of legal challenges.

      • leftoftheboom

        June 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        Please use the words: There is simply *no easy way* to carry

        thank you.

      • Gunship Load

        June 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm


        We do not have time for common sense…

        That, and ass we all know, there is nothing common about common sense.

        • leftoftheboom

          June 5, 2014 at 4:10 pm

          Unfortunately you are correct. I don’t have any solutions.

  3. Todd M

    June 5, 2014 at 9:09 am

    What if these folks carrying AR15 into Starbucks are really just anti gun folks trying to slander real gun rights folks? Same thing happened at tea party events. It was proved that liberals posed as tea party folks and carried confederate flags to these events merely to slander the tea party

  4. longdong

    June 5, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Conceal your handgun, I know you want to open carry your sweet customized 1911 but the first thing I do when I see someone open carrying is start to size them up, because in all honesty you do not know these people and what their intentions are. If you want to have your long gun, have it. Leave it in your vehicle. Use your secondary to get to your primary. Everybody wants to be an operator, slinging their cookie cutter dpms AR or AK, but the training is lacking 99 percent of the time. Difficultly deploying a long gun when it’s rear slung and over-penatration, seem to never cross these dudes mind. Looking like a hard ass and making a statement is what these guys are going for. In reality they might as well put a target on themselves.

    • Craig

      June 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I’m 19, I can legally open carry, but I can’t legally concealed carry until I’m 21 and apply for a CCP. I have the fortune of living in a shall issue state but some people don’t. There are valid reasons for people to open carry. But yes, open carrying a long gun under almost all circumstances is ridiculous. It should be legal, but people need to use good judgment and realize that short of a violent civil unrest there really is no time it’s necessary (outside of hunting).

      • Whitey

        June 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

        Some of the more extreme open-carriers have offered the argument that they want to carry the best weapon for defense. I’ll admit that point has some merit.

        Here’s my take on that. I like my AR. I have spent lots of money (un-?)wisely tricking it out just the way I want it–in my case, minimal tacticool other than a light and red dot. It’s fun to shoot. I shoot fairly well with it. But if the proverbial balloon ever went up, it would not be my preferred go-to rifle. That would be my old-school, M1 Garand with iron sights, wood furniture, and GI leather sling.

        Why? After all, it’s old, heavy, and doesn’t have much in the way of tacticool options. Because I’m most familiar with my M1, having had it since I was 14. I know it inside and out, and am more practiced and proficient with it than with any other rifle. It’s rock-solid, shoots straight, and never breaks. I can mount a bayonet on it (I don’t know much about bayonet fighting, but luckily for me neither do 98% of the people i might need to defend myself against) and don’t need to worry about rattling something fragile if I should need to introduce the stock to some asshole’s face. I’m a rather large dude with a meaty right shoulder, so I consider the M1’s recoil to be pleasantly soft and don’t much mind the 11lb weight. Plus, good old .30-06 ball ammo punches holes all the way through roughly 2/3-3/4 of the surfaces known to man, conclusively winning the cover/concealment debate.

        So why don’t I carry my Garand around everywhere? For all the same reasons I just described. It’s big, long, and unwieldy up close. I don’t see myself fixing bayonets against a carjacker (though let’s be honest, that would be fucking AWESOME). The only non-menacing way to carry it is slung over my shoulder. It comes off of my shoulder a lot slower than my 1911 comes out of the holster.

        Plus, overpenetration is a concern (just ask the NYPD, AKA “The World’s Foremost Experts On the Fine Art of Shooting Bystanders). Even if I hit the agressor center-mass, dead-on-balls, and blow his heart out through his spine, that round barely lost any energy in the process and will still be very lethal (and wall-penetrating) for a long distance. As any shooter knows, any time a round leaves your barrel, you are responsible for anything and everything it hits.

        Therefore, my M1 or any other rifle or carbine is a piss-poor choice for a daily carry weapon outside of a rare civil unrest/anarchy/Hurricane Katrina-type scenario. Sure, a pistol (even my beloved 1911) is not the ideal arm for most firefights, but it is the appropriate weapon to carry for daily personal defense. Even if it’s open-carried, a pistol is low-profile.

        With all that in mind, I think walking around the mall with your AR hanging from your neck is doing more harm than good. They’re carrying an inappropriate weapon basically just to make the bleeding-hearts piss themselves in the Starbucks line. What’s the point of that?

  5. Jameson is yum

    June 5, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Your argument holds water for people who believe in small government and capitalism but quickly those people are becoming more rare. US Society, IMHO, as a whole is becoming more emotional and unable to think in a manner that could be considered somewhat logical. Groups, such as Open Carry Texas, that hold these impromptu protests or rallies with their AR/AK style long guns (one video I saw had an ak with a 100rd drum) have let the mainstream media portray them as nut jobs. Perception is reality and these organizations need to understand that the image they portray will be used against all of the people who carry. So when they walk into a family resturant with the civilian equivalent of an M249 SAW dressed like trash, or even better in full tactical kit, they are working against the cause as opposed to for it.

  6. NYJarhead

    June 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Great article. Unfortunately for us in NY, I feel it may be too late for us. Born and raised here and am now looking to pack up and move my family out. The corruption in Albany is to the point that it’s infringing on our constitutional rights.

  7. Viktor

    June 5, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Open carry has always given me pause, as your just flagging the bag guy as the dude to shoot in the back of the head.

  8. Rok Sarge Kam

    June 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Well slap yourself on the back, you are the first doomer to say Open Carry will bring down American Capitalism. Fox Business should be calling any minute. Those thought5 should be kept in the same small room you keep the Ranger Panties.

    • Mr. Twisted

      June 5, 2014 at 5:45 pm


      First, forgive me for not taking a comment all that seriously from someone who spells the word “thought” with the letter 5. However, I am curious as to what your actual point is, as you have yet to make one.

      • leftoftheboom

        June 6, 2014 at 8:36 am

        I think he is asking your for a date. I am not sure.

        It could be a well choreographed trap.

        • Mr. Twisted

          June 6, 2014 at 9:46 am

          I don’t know why I didn’t see it until now. It’s been so obvious and right in front of my face…

          LotB, you’re Admiral Ackbar, aren’t you?!?!

          • leftoftheboom

            June 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

            We lasted longer against the Star Destroyers than I thought we would.

            If General Skywalker had not defeated the Emperor, I don’t know if we would have had the strength to take on a force of that magnitude again. But the Force was with us.

            Now I am retired. We really should get the Jedi to let out the secrets of Light Sabers. They are great for defense and not random like blasters. That would make this issue go away. Plus they are really cool. I asked for one as a retirement gift but General Skywalker was being a prick about it.

          • Mr. Twisted

            June 6, 2014 at 4:09 pm

            My “official” story for why I went to RTB instead of the 75th is that I broke my hip with two days left in RIP.

            The real story, however, is that as they were handing out berets, I asked the question, “when do I get my lightsaber?” Upon finding out that Ranger Regiment was not, in fact, the same as Jedi Knight Academy, I promptly walked away, unashamed for my reasoning.

            I think you deserved your lightsaber instead of that crappy gold watch.

          • leftoftheboom

            June 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

            Let me just say, ouch, on your behalf. To bad the medical frigate was hit so hard.

            The watch was okay, but all it did was tell time. The Republic said the war cost to much for frills. I think they took the money and let General Skywalker get a new hand. He kept looking at the Princess funny and then he would need a new one after a while. I never understood that.

          • Gunship Load

            June 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm

            Sorry fellas, but we all know…

            “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

  9. Don't Argue with a Stump

    June 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

    The problem is that the premises of both conservative and liberal values are different. For example, conservatives generally see that human nature is essentially bad; whereas, liberals see it as inherently good. Also, conservatives see the democratic state as being fragile and in need of protection. Liberals, on the other hand are looking to make a better society, on the premise that bad people are a product of circumstance. This battle is hard fought but almost pointless because neither side understands the other, nor do they hold the same values. Until we as conservatives can convince our liberal counterparts, through logic as the article suggests, we will not win this war. As Sun Tzu stated, “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

  10. Soprogressiveithurts

    June 8, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    My boyfriend owns several handguns. He also owns other weapons. He lives in semi-Rural Pennsylvania, and I don’t think he’s a raging maniac for owning weapons. Heck, if he felt the need to wear a pistol on his belt, I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t object, since I know he is careful about weapons and would only do so for a good reason.

    But I don’t live in semi-rural Pennsylvania. I live in Newark NJ, in a high-crime area, where displaying such a weapon would lead to someone following me home, watching to see when I wasn’t there, and then stealing it to commit a crime. I also travel regularly to New York City, where it would be downright stupid to openly carry a pistol on the subway. There are too many things that could go wrong.

    When I move to semi-rural Pennsylvania I intend to learn how to shoot o I can have a pistol license. If I am going to live in a house with guns, i need to understand how to use them safely and have the proper respect for them. But what works in parts of Pennsylvania doesn’t work in big cities like New York City or even Newark, where people are short-tempered and a shooting situation could easily occur, with way too many people nearby (nearby means within three feet) who could get hurt. We also have too many people in major cities who have not grown up understanding gun safety, who are violent by nature, who have different cultural patterns and ways of seeing the world, to make open carry a feasible position across the country.

    Not all of us Northeast progressive-types are anti-guns. I’ve had hunters in my family, and I like wild meat too much to be a hypocrite. I understand the desire in many parts of the country for open and concealed carry, even if I think the ‘need’ doesn’t make sense in a modern society. But the guns in my neighborhood aren’t known for stopping crime. Instead, they are known for killing and maiming our young, and many of them arrived in my state after legally being obtained in places like North Carolina.

    I truly believe that every state should have a waiting period for weapons (that can include anything more scary than a carving knife too, for that matter). I also think that, yes, there should be a check made regarding whether a person has been hospitalized for a severe mental illness (more for the sake of the afflicted person than for anyone else; most mentally ill people are not a danger to others) or has been arrested for crimes such as stalking, assault or other issues. I don’t think people with a history of drug addiction should own handguns either.

    Let’s face it. The average person in this country who dies from gunshot wounds isn’t killed by a long rifle, or by someone with a high level of weapons training, or by someone who underwent a waiting period. In order to keep weapons out of the hands of the criminally minded (which includes men who want to kill a whole bunch of women, or wives who want to shoot their husbands, not just the usual suspects like drug dealers) and the mentally unstable, we do unfortunately need laws in places where most people don’t know each other or care about their neighbors, let alone strangers.

    • Mr. Twisted

      June 12, 2014 at 11:23 am


      Though I appreciate the fact that you wrote a well-thought out comment, your last two paragraphs display that you are not only wrong, but drastically opposed to concepts like the Second Amendment and health care privacy. Your willingness to ignore those two ideologies is, sadly, indicative of far too many people in our country today.

      The problem with your stance on both freedom of firearm ownership and the health care component is that neither are realistic or would they work, even if they didn’t infringe on personal freedom, which they both do. The article I wrote above is a simple statement about how private businesses can set the rules they wish and the general public must abide by them and that “laws” are not needed to take that any further. Your last sentence demonstrates a misunderstanding regarding how most people view laws and, more specifically, how those intent on doing harm simply don’t care about those laws.

  11. JoeC

    June 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I have a few significant issues for open carry. The first was already mentioned by someone else and that is it makes you an obvious target. Maybe we need some RU shirts with a target on them that say “shoot me first”? I don’t have a problem with open carry, I just think it creates a tactical disadvantage if you ever are in a position to need that side arm. The second is that every person I know or have met that open carries are cowboys and have no business carrying in the first place. Some I’ve known for years and the thought of them even owning a gun makes me cringe. Others I’ve seen on the street and pointed out that their holster was unsnapped and they say it’s like that so they can draw faster. Idiots. And these are people carrying a handgun that is holstered.

    Although I don’t feel it should be illegal to walk around with a rifle, I think there is one very big reason that it is a bad idea. If you were a bad guy that wanted to kill a bunch of people and then kill (or be killed) yourself, an open carry rally would be the perfect place to do it. You walk up with your rifle and nobody thinks a thing about it because there are 100 others there doing the same thing. Nobody would ever see it coming. You end up dead, but you can probably take several with you and you planned on not living through the day anyway. Sure, you’re surrounded by 100 people with rifles, but how many can actually use them in a combat situation? As an active shooter you really don’t care what you hit. All of those other people do, or at least should….but let’s pretend they don’t think about that in the heat of battle. Now you’ve got one lunatic in the center of a group of armed citizens and he opens fire. Maybe he gets 5 or 6 others before everyone around him starts shooting at him from all directions. Now you’ve got the few dead that were killed by the shooter, the shooter is dead, and how many more from the errant bullets fired by the group that either over penetrated or missed and then hit someone else. Not a good situation and it’s only a matter of time until it happens.

    We don’t need gun laws to regulate guns. We need gun laws to regulate stupidity.

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