The long gun open carry movement had been steadily earning bad press thanks to a series of unforced public relations tactical errors, which citizen control cult Moms Demand Action From Illegal Mayors In Everytown (MDAFIMIE) has capitalized on in campaigns that have led to (mostly meaningless) letters from a number of establishments asking gun owners to leave their firearms at home.

These letters have been the equivalent of “counting coup” for the citizen control cult, having great spiritual meaning for them, but zero legal effect. It appears that few (if any) of their protests targets have actually posted their establishments to stop citizens from legally carrying guns into their places of business.

Jessica Chasmar is reporting in the Washington Times that other restaurant chains aren’t going to mandate corporate gun polices to franchisees, making the citizen control cults battle that much more difficult.

Restaurant chains are vowing to let individual franchises deal with the gun debate on their own, shortly after Chipotle announced that firearms are no longer welcome in its stores.

“Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants are owned and operated by individual franchisees who are required to follow all federal, state and local laws with regard to firearms,” said a Dunkin’ Brands spokeswoman in a statement, CNBC reported.

Rich Jeffers, director of communications at Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, told CNBC: “Our approach has always been that we abide by all local and state laws.”

And McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb said: “For franchisee-owned restaurants, operational decisions regarding open carry weapon laws are made by the independent franchisee.”

Put another way, by deferring to the individual franchisees, the corporations are choosing to insulate themselves from a political battle they never wanted to be a part of in the first place, so that they can concentrate on doing business. That this decision is likely to blunt the bullying tactics of MDAFIMIE by making it too time-consuming and costly to take on franchisees on anything other than an ad-hoc basis is simply a convenient side effect.

The only potential fly in the ointment is the tendency of some attention-seeking open-carriers to make individual franchisees targets of opportunity by their actions. For example, if Fat Man and Little Boy had posed at Chipotle and the corporation had the policy of Darden Restaurants, then the citizen control cult might choose to try to bring pressure against that individual franchisee, which could put the franchisees in a tough position.

Now, is that a cost-effective use of Bloomberg’s $50 million anti-liberty marketing machine?

I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.