East Texas Whataburgers to prohibit open carry in establishments

East Texas Whataburgers to prohibit open carry in establishments
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Texas is still months away from becoming an open-carry state. However, Whataburger corporate representatives are saying no to allowing customers open-carry in their Texas restaurants.

Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation into law that allows Texans to visibly carry handguns out in public.

The Texas-based chain is known for making burgers "Just Like You Like It" but after Governor Greg Abbott signed Texas' open carry law, the company took a stance some Texans might not have liked.

"We've had a little bit of negative commentary from a few customers," said Maci Herrington Dover, the marketing director for Whataburger.

East Texas franchisees wanted it to be known that this is a corporate decision that they have to follow.

"We just want it to be family friendly. We don't want any patrons to feel uncomfortable based on what other patrons are doing," Dover said.

Preston Atkinson, Whataburger's CEO and president, released a statement that said, "Whataburger supports customers' Second Amendment rights, and we respect your group's position but we haven't allowed the open carry of firearms in our restaurants in a long time."

"Concealed is welcomed, open carry, please leave them in the vehicle," Dover said.

Dover said there has been a misconception with the stance concerning the law.  East Texans visiting Whataburgers with handgun licenses are still welcome to bring their guns as long as they are concealed, she said.

They believe this new corporate mandate will make visits comfortable for most of their patrons, including their smallest customers like, "Little League ball teams and families with small children," Dover said.

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