What is being described as a “misunderstanding that barred six state Department of Corrections officers” from having lunch at a new Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Tacoma, Washington is having a ripple effect in the firearms community, where legally-licensed private citizens feel they’re still being discriminated against.
A group of DOC officers were asked to leave by a manager because they were visibly armed and the restaurant has a no-guns policy, according to published reports. But the Tacoma News Tribune is now reporting that it was a “misunderstanding” of the policy.
Liberty Park Press left messages with Cheesecake Factory’s headquarters in California but did not get a response.
The incident happened Dec. 20, and one of the Corrections officers posted about it on social media. A firestorm erupted, and by the following morning, according to the News Tribune, Cheesecake Factory’s corporate office was scrambling to put out the Internet flames on its own Facebook page. Here’s how the newspaper reported it:
“By Wednesday morning, the Cheesecake Factory’s corporate office reached out to the state Department of Corrections and the six involved officers to apologize and assure them that law enforcement is indeed welcome in the chain’s restaurants.
“Apparently a shift manager misunderstood or miscommunicated the policy about law enforcement having service weapons on the premises.”
KIRO and MyNorthwest.com reported that the company issued a statement: “Our policy is to allow uniformed and identified law enforcement officials to possess their service weapons on our premises. To the extent that there was a miscommunication of our policy, we sincerely apologize.”
But some armed private citizens are having none of it. After all, they argue, the restaurant’s policy is about firearms, not law enforcement. KVI conservative commentators John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur discussed the situation Thursday morning.
There has been quite a debate on Facebook, and a source at the Cheesecake Factory’s corporate offices in Calabasas Hills, Calif. said their office has been “inundated” with telephone calls. News Tribune reader comments illustrate the mindset of activist gun owners.
“Looks like I won’t be giving them my business,” one reader writes. “(I) was looking forward to trying them out. I do not spend my money at ‘No guns allowed’ posted businesses. Their choice affects my choice.”
Another observes, “Whether they let law enforcement carry our not they are still violating our 2nd amendment right to carry, I will not give my business to anyone that considers themselves a gun free zone. I carry concealed everywhere except restricted federal buildings.”
“Yep,” says a third reader, “I’m law enforcement so this kind of crap really annoys me. It is made more annoying that they would deny you, a law abiding citizen from exercising your 2nd amendment right…I definitely will never spend another cent in that place. EVER.”
Over on Facebook, one man wrote, “Completely retarded policy, but honestly these officers now have a taste of what it’s like to be a lawfully armed private person.”
This is hardly the first time for such a flap. Other businesses have no-guns policies, and sometimes, as in Seattle and other liberal enclaves, such policies are encouraged by gun prohibition lobbying groups.
By some estimates, there are now more than 15 million legally-licensed/permitted armed citizens in the United States. They pass background checks, and many, if not most, go through firearms training courses. In some cases, they take private firearms training that exceeds basic training standards.
Activists contend, “no guns” policies discriminate against them. What are these citizens to do, leave guns locked in cars where thieves might steal them? Former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who went on to work for the Obama administration, had his personally-owned 9mm pistol stolen out of his department-assigned car almost 12 years ago while it was parked on a downtown street. Kerlikowske and his wife were shopping on Dec. 26, 2004 when the theft occurred.