Alex Phillips of Paradise, Texas, was among members of Open Carry Tarrant County who demonstrated May 29, 2014, in Haltom City, Texas. / Tony Gutierrez, AP
Sonic Drive-In and Chili's Grill & Bar have added their corporate voices to a growing list of food firms asking patrons to enjoy their meals without their guns.
"We recognize that the open carry of firearms in restaurants creates an uncomfortable atmosphere and is not permitted under many local liquor laws," said a statement from Brinker International, Chili's Dallas-based parent. "So, we kindly ask that guests refrain from openly carrying firearms into our restaurants and we will continue to follow state and local laws on this issue."
Texas law prohibits rifles and shotguns where alcohol is served.
In its statement, Sonic said that although the company has historically relied on local laws "to guide how we address the display of guns at drive-ins, recent actions required we carefully reconsider this approach."
"We've considered the views and desires of our customers and employees that staff the drive-ins across the country," the Oklahoma City-based company said. "Accordingly, we're asking that customers refrain from bringing guns onto our patios or into our indoor dining areas. With respect to the storage of guns in vehicles, we ask that our customers continue to honor local laws."
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America had lobbied Chipotle, Chili's and Sonic to ban open carrying of guns in their restaurants.
"Moms thank Sonic and Brinker International, which includes Chili's Grill & Bar, for taking action to stand up for the safety and security of our families," founder Shannon Watts said Friday. "We are heartened that we can take our children to these family-oriented restaurants and not worry about being confronted by customers with semiautomatic rifles."
After the open-carry demonstration two weekends ago by Open Carry Texas, Denver-based Chipotle asked customers to not bring guns inside. The gun-rights group did not immediately respond to a USA TODAY request for comment.
Starbucks, Wendy's, Jack In The Box, and Applebees have instituted similar no-guns policies.
Saturday, Open Carry Tarrant County will stage a demonstration at a Home Depot in North Richland Hills, Texas. About 150 activists are expected to show up for the rally, the group's second this week.
Home Depot's corporate communications director had told Forbes on Thursday that the company would not stop the gathering. But Friday the spokesman, Stephen Holmes, said Home Depot was reviewing whether the demonstration violated a ban on solicitation and disrupting store business.
Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Sonic, Chili's say no guns inside