Gun control activists and organizations have actively called for boycotts against businesses and companies that have ties to the National Rifle Association, or sell or manufacture firearms. During its annual convention in Dallas, the NRA engaged in a little boycott of its own.
A restaurant by the name of Ellen’s in Dallas went viral over the weekend after giving customers a message that stood in stark contrast to the NRA’s pro-Second Amendment, anti-gun control convention. At the bottom of its receipts, the restaurant stated, “A portion of this week’s proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations.”
It didn’t take long for the NRA to find out and let its displeasure be known, as it quickly tweeted a picture of one of the receipts to its thousands of pro-Second Amendment followers. In the tweet, the NRA encouraged convention attendees to find a different place to eat while they were in town.
Attn @AnnualMeetings attendees. Steer clear of Ellen’s in downtown Dallas! Why go there when there are so many other great choices. ?#sorrynotsorry #StandAndFight #DefendTheSecond pic.twitter.com/joX7pPoPm4
— NRA (@NRA) May 5, 2018
Gun rights proponents understandably would take issue with the words “reasonable and effective,” as most proposals are not reasonable or effective. When an individual or organization calls for “reasonable” gun control, it’s usually code for “ban assault-style weapons,” “raise the legal age to purchase a firearm,” and/or “limit high-capacity magazines.” And when they call for “effective” gun control, it’s usually code for regulations that will do nothing to actually prevent gun violence.
Furthermore, when the restaurant states it will donate to organizations that support these measures, the ones that come to mind for most supporters of the Second Amendment are groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, Shannon Watts’ Moms Demand Action, and the Brady Campaign. These groups oppose the NRA and the Second Amendment every step of the way.
According to reporting by The Washington Post, the owner of the restaurant made his decision to post the message because, allegedly, attendees of the convention who had dined in his restaurant made racist remarks toward employees.
Joe Groves, the owner of Ellen’s, which serves Southern comfort food and all-day brunch, posted a photo of the receipt on Facebook on Friday, the Dallas Observer reported. He told the Dallas Morning News and Eater that he decided to add the message after convention attendees had insulted some of his employees with racially charged comments, which Groves called “demoralizing.”
“I’m making a list of the vile, racist, moronic conversations overheard from NRA attendees eating at the restaurant,” he reportedly wrote on Facebook. “They don’t even speak softly.” Customers allegedly asked Hispanic servers, “Do you keep your illegals in the back?” Groves told the Dallas Morning News, and said to black employees, “You don’t sound black. Where are you from, India?”
After the NRA sent out its tweet, Ellen’s appeared to change its tune, offering a correction and clarification for its message to customers.
Only about an hour after the NRA posted its tweet, Ellen’s appeared to change its message.
“What a day this has been!” Ellen’s posted on Facebook. “We want to give some clarification to an issue that has caused quite a bit of confusion and anxiety.”
The restaurant wrote that it had not expected the two words “reasonable and effective” to be interpreted as support for gun control measures.
“The mistake was an honest one. The opposite is true. We support the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment, 100%. And like the NRA, we also support finding solutions to the senseless killings that happen much too frequently. We believe those two things are completely compatible.”
Ellen’s wrote that after a “courteous and informative conversation with a customer, we realized how our message could be misconstrued and we moved quickly to clarify. By then, the situation had become viral.”
The restaurant posted a photo of a new variation of the message on its receipts. It changed the wording to say it would be donating to organizations “dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations that protect citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights and also help reduce needless gun violence.”
It’s interesting that a “courteous and informative conversation with a customer” resulted in the change. It goes to show that a little dialogue can go a long way.
One can only hope that the restaurant’s change in tone is genuine.
Thanks to the reporting of Matt Vespa over at Townhall, it looks like the restaurant’s backpedaling isn’t genuine in the slightest, as the decision to put the message on the checks was well part of Groves’ plan for more than a month.
The NRA tweeted screenshots of Mr. Groves saying he would put a message at the bottom of his establishment’s receipts.
.@nytimes "…the owner and founder of Ellen’s, did not respond to a request for comment." The reason he is not responding is because he knows he was caught. Someone did research and found that over a month ago, the owner posted the following on Facebook. https://t.co/H85pvrkm6u pic.twitter.com/jGskowUMjk
— NRA (@NRA) May 6, 2018
“Take their money. Take as much as you can. Less funding/donations for them,” said one account, whose identity was blurred out.
“I plan to,” Groves reportedly replied. “It’s just painful.”