AP Photo/Eric Gay
For years, the name “Whataburger” was about as Texas as the Alamo.
Recently, though, the burger chain was sold to an Illinois owner. In theory, this shouldn’t have changed much. Not really.
However, a recent incident suggests that greater changes are being made to the corporate culture than one might have expected.
Jason Kennemur, who is licensed to carry a firearm in Texas, was denied service recently when he walked into the store with an openly-carried gun.
“I don’t generally patronize places that don’t allow concealed carry. I don’t mind if they don’t allow open carry – that’s their right – that’s everybody’s right. That’s just fine. I don’t have to eat there,” said Kennemur.
He later took to social media where he received an outpour of support, as well as backlash.
Now, the company previously had come out against openly-carried firearms. However, Kennemur notes that it failed to comply with some state regulations.
However, Kennemur also claims Big Spring’s location failed to hang signs indicating their gun rules.
“The whole issue with me is they’re not posted,” said Kennemur. “A simple 30.07 posting on the door would let people know hey we don’t allow open carry.”
And that’s fair.
Look, I generally don’t go places that don’t allow me to carry either. However, I believe all businesses have a right to decide what they will and won’t allow. Property rights are a thing, after all. Like I don’t have to allow someone the opportunity to stand in my living room and espouse their support for communism, Whataburger doesn’t have to allow firearms in its businesses.
Freedom has to be a two-way street or else it’s not really freedom.
That said, if the law requires you to post a sign and you fail to do so, you failed. You’ve crossed the line because now it’s more about whim than policy.
Here in Georgia, signs carry no force of law. A place can have a no firearms sign posted, but it doesn’t mean anything. They have to physically tell you to leave. Failing to do so counts as criminal trespass as it does for anyone else. In other words, there’s no special procedure for excluding guns from your business. I kind of like that, especially since a lot of franchises require such signs but the people who own them don’t give a damn.
But a lot of places do have that procedure in place. If a business fails to follow it, then we have a problem.
Is this more of an issue since it’s no longer a Texas-based company? Frankly, even though the chain had stated it prohibited open carry, I can’t help but wonder.
Who owns Whataburger isn’t that important. What is, however, is that a man was denied service in spite of the franchise not following relevant law. That’s assuming Kennemur is telling the truth, but I see no reason to believe he isn’t.
Someone needs to step up and make this right.