Following the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot dead by a 20-year-old student, many would think Americans had stood united to demand a more vigorous gun control policy from their government. But that did not happen, of course. And over a period of roughly one and a half years after that senseless violence, 74 more shooting incidents were reported in schools across the nation.
The debate between pro-gun advocates and those calling for stricter gun control continues to rage. And of all places, in restaurants.
While big chains such as Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill ask customers not to bring in their guns, a small but growing number of independent restaurateurs are rolling out the red carpet for gun owners, while some are even offering discounts for customers who show up armed, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Some gun-control activists find it hard to understand how the carrying of guns inside eateries could be of any benefit to the diners, or improve their appetite. In fact, how could diners enjoy their food when at the back of their minds they suspect the quiet fellow seating behind them could be packing a Bushmaster AR-15.
“Restaurants routinely protect their patrons from second-hand smoke, so it makes sense they would go out of their way to protect them from bullets as well,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, was quoted as saying.
But gun-rights supporters believe such concerns are not well-founded. “Gun-owners are largely polite, tend to their own business, and are responsible with their firearms,” says Dave Workman, communications director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Some experts believe that restaurants with any policy on guns will attract customers who support their stand on the issue, which means both kinds of restaurants are bound to grow their clientele.
Meanwhile, the gun-related death toll continues to rise.
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