Chipotle Mexican Grill, the fast food chain, is asking its customers not to bring guns into its restaurants.
The announcement is similar to one the coffee giant Starbucks made back in September. Both companies were thrust into the middle of the national debate on guns, when gun activists brought guns into the establishments to make a point.
" 'Recently participants from an "open carry" demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort,' a statement from Chipotle reads. 'Because of this we are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.'
"Chipotle says it typically defers to local laws on the issue because it doesn't think it's fair for employees to ask customers not to bring guns into stores. But backlash following a gun rally at a Dallas Chipotle this weekend led the chain to take action.
" 'The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request,' the statement continues. 'And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.' "
The Wall Street Journal reports that it is unclear whether the company plans to communicate its new policy directly to customers.
Starbucks, for example, said its baristas would not deny service to gun-carrying customers. They also did not ask them to go elsewhere.
A Starbucks spokesman, however, told the Journal that the request has been respected by its customers.
The paper adds that only a few big chains — such as Costco, CVS and Chuck E. Cheese's — ban all guns.