Amarillo, TX - In a few months, Texans can start wearing their guns out in the open, but you won't be able to do that at one iconic Texas burger joint.
Whataburger CEO and President Preston Atkinson said the company supports customer's second amendment rights, but from a business standpoint, open carry is not something their restaurant can participate in.
Whataburger proudly promotes their stores as family-owned with a family-friendly atmosphere. The company decided visibly carrying guns inside would hurt that image. "Many customers and employees tell us they are uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement, and as a business, we have to listen and value that feedback," said Atkinson in an online letter.
Some local residents agree with their decision. "My opinion is that it should be left up to the owner, manager or whoever is running the store because they are the ones responsible for their employees and their safety."
"I think it's probably a good idea," said another resident. "Open carry would make a lot of people nervous. I am a concealed carry licensed person, but open carry just kind of makes me think that people just want to show off that they can carry."
However, some open carry activists said they would rather have their gun than their favorite Whataburger meal. "I eat there three or four days a week. I eat breakfast there quite a bit. Now I am going to have to find somewhere else to eat because if they are not going to support guns, I can't support them."
Although Whataburger is asking customers to not openly carry guns inside, it will continue to allow concealed carry.
Gun owners can legally open carry in January, at least in the businesses that allow it.