Chipotle and Guns: Three Separate Issues
Yesterday, Chipotle asked customers to stop bringing guns into its stores. There's been a lot of commentary already, but much of it blurs the lines separating the various issues the decision raises. Here's a quick rundown.
1. Is Chipotle violating its customers' rights?
This is the only true policy issue, and the short answer is "no." The Second Amendment restrains governments, not businesses, and many who support gun rights also support the right of businesses to ban guns.
Not all do, though. There have been state-level efforts -- backed by the NRA -- to override businesses' no-guns policies. And some legal scholars have suggested that gun-free businesses should be held liable in the event that an attack happens on the premises and people can't defend themselves.
2. What happened to set Chipotle off, and was it really that bad?
Whether this is a problem depends on your personal sensibilities. I'm pretty comfortable with guns -- my dad was a cop while I was growing up, I've been hunting since the age of twelve, and I have a concealed-carry permit today -- but I have to say this would make me uneasy. Why? Well, because carrying uncased rifles around in a fast-food restaurant is not normal.
3. Did Chipotle overreact?
The restaurant didn't just say no rifles, or even no open carry. It said no civilian guns, period: "We are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel."
As someone with a concealed-carry permit I don't appreciate being lumped in with the folks in the photo above. Chipotle might have rankled fewer customers if it had focused its effort on behaviors that actually create a disturbance and make diners uncomfortable.
Robert VerBruggen is editor of RealClearPolicy. Twitter: @RAVerBruggen