Gun control advocates are still out self-congratulatory press releases and tweets patting themselves on the backs for getting fast food chain Subway to “do something” about the open carrying of firearms in the company’s restaurants, but as it turns out, rumors of an outright ban on open carry haven’t come to pass. Instead, a couple of months after several Second Amendment activists openly carrying in a Raleigh Subway store became fodder for the national news media and anti-gun activists, the chain has revised its policy and is “respectfully requesting” customers to conceal their firearms if they’re eating while armed.
Many news outlets originally reported that the chain had banned the practice, but apparently that information from the Raleigh-Apex NAACP wasn’t correct, but WRAL-TV in Raleigh has been one of the few media outlets to acknowledge that the company’s new policy doesn’t amount to a ban.
Subway restaurants will ask customers to refrain from open carry of weapons at all restaurants, even in states where open carry is allowed.
The announcement came the same day a Subway store on Fayetteville Street celebrated its grand reopening. The store was destroyed in late May when George Floyd protests in downtown Raleigh turned into riots and looting.
Store owner Rashid Salahat and Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown were in attendance along with the NAACP and the Islamic Association.
The groups talked about how the community came together to clean up Salahat’s restaurant and the more than 175 other businesses that were vandalized in Raleigh.
Salahat thanked the volunteers that cleaned up his store and offered to feed everyone who attended the event for free.
“We can make the money later,” he said. “I am just overwhelmed with the support I get from our community.”
Salahat said his store sustained about $80,000 worth of damages in May when rioters broke windows, stole his TV and vandalized the restaurant.
It’s important to note that the Second Amendment activists had nothing to do with the damage done to the Subway store. In fact, their lunch stop happened several weeks before rioters in downtown Raleigh trashed dozens of businesses in late May. In fact, had there been a few individuals exercising their right to keep and bear arms at the sandwich shop, it likely wouldn’t have been trashed to begin with.
Gun control groups and anti-gun politicians have been pushing for Subway to ban open carry ever since the gunowners, dubbed “Meal Team Six” by some online wags, dined in back in early May. In fact, The Hill reported just a few days ago that Connecticut senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy penned an open letter to Subway’s CEO demanding that such a ban be enacted faster than you can say “five dollar foot long.”
“No person should have to fear gun violence while visiting or working in Subway restaurants,” the senators wrote. “Photographs of these demonstrators published by the News & Observer are as striking as they are intimidating, and, regrettably, reflect more than this one incident.”
“The public health challenges that we face, as a nation, due to this global pandemic are great, but neither excuse nor absolve us of our obligation to respond to the related and mounting public safety crisis—posed by the tremendous proliferation of firearms sales—in the making,” they wrote.
Here’s the language from Subway’s website:
For the consideration and comfort of restaurant employees and guests, Subway respectfully requests that guests (other than authorized law enforcement) refrain from openly displaying firearms inside restaurants — even in states where “open carry” is permitted.
So, no ban on the carrying of firearms, and a request not to open carry. Considering the amount of corporate wokeness we’ve seen lately, this almost counts as a courageous stand in support of the Second Amendment by the corporation. Almost.
Really, this is just Subway paying lip service to the idea of banning open carry, while recognizing that it’s really not worth the hassle or trouble to actually enforce a prohibition on the practice. They just want the issue to go away, and the language of their policy allows gun control advocates to claim victory without the company having to enact a real ban.
As far as I’m concerned, if the company doesn’t want me open-carrying in their restaurant, I’ll try to abide by their wishes to the best of my ability. After all, their property rights are equally as valid as my Second Amendment rights, and the company could legally ban firearms from their stores entirely (though again, I don’t think they have any desire to try to enforce that policy). I don’t eat at Subway that often, and I doubt that changes, but I’m not going to launch some sort of boycott the store simply because they’re requesting people not open carry.
Would I have preferred to see Subway tell gun control advocates to pound sand? Of course. But given the corporate cowardice displayed on a daily basis in order to avoid the angry online mob, I do think it’s worth noting that Subway didn’t give the gun control crowd what they wanted.
Oh… wait a minute.
BREAKING: I’m so proud to announce that our campaign urging @Subway to ban the open carry of firearms at their restaurants has succeeded!!
Subway has adopted a policy asking their customers to keep their firearms at home! pic.twitter.com/mBpBG7EBFv
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) July 7, 2020
Actually, it looks like Subway gave the gun control activists exactly what they wanted, and what Igor Volsky wanted was the ability to claim a victory. Actually achieving one was secondary. In fact, it’s better not just for gun owners but for gun control advocates that Subway didn’t actually enact a ban. Enforcement would be a nightmare, and it wouldn’t be long before there would be claims that the ban was being subjectively enforced, perhaps even caught on camera. That would be a PR nightmare for the company, and put gun control advocates in the awkward position of lobbying for policies that call for a police response to a misdemeanor non-violent firearms offense.
The Left is all about de-policing right now, but Volsky’s push for a gun ban at Subway is another reminder that gun control not only relies on policing for enforcement, it actually creates gun crimes out of legal behavior. It increases the opportunity for conflict between law enforcement and gun owners, and according to many police reform advocates, puts black and brown gun owners at the greatest risk. Gun control and the defund police movement can only comfortably exist together on the Left as long as both groups are willing to ignore the fact that by criminalizing the Second Amendment in a system that they say is systemically racist, they are automatically consigning more black and brown men to prison for non-violent crimes.
If systemic racism is real, then until it is eliminated the only way to ensure that black Americans have the same Second Amendment rights as white Americans is for there to be fewer opportunities for the criminal justice system to target black men for exercising their rights. Discretionary-issue gun licensing laws create illegal gun possession. Magazine bans create sentence enhancements. Gun-free zones create jail sentences.
Thankfully, Subway’s request to gun owners does not, and that’s a good thing, even if it’s allowed gun control advocates to claim a victory lap without actually winning anything at all.