Carrying Guns in Texas Restaurants
Mark Roach, internet director at Damron’s Jewelry Guns and Pawn in Amarillo, open carries on his way to Tyler’s BBQ for lunch. photo from Amarillo Globe-News web photo

With the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill gaining momentum on capitol hill, there has been a lot of conversation on both sides of the issue. In some states, widespread concealed and open carry is a common part of everyday life.

This story from , profiles the state of open carry in Texas, where many local eateries ban the open or concealed carry of firearms, while some, like Spicy Mike’s, post signs encouraging their customers to carry, saying, “Guns are welcome on premises. Please keep all weapons holstered unless need arises. In such case, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.”

The story says such signs aren’t present at chain restaurants in the state, which mostly don’t allow carry of any kind, seeing as they have to please customers in red and blue states across the country. But even Texas-based Wataburger banned open carry soon after Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law that allows it in 2015. The chain, however, does allow concealed carry.

But there are locally owned places, like Spicy Mike’s, that are more gun friendly. The story says oner Mike Havens carries from the time he arrives at work at 4 a.m. until he leaves at night.

From the story: “If he leaves during the day, he’s usually transporting money to a bank. That’s reason enough to arm himself, Havens said, and he has no qualms if licensed customers want to do the same.”

As of December 2016, more than 1.15 million Texans are licensed to carry handguns. To do so, applicants must pass a series of background checks.

From the story:

“Tyler Frazer of Tyler’s Barbeque said he has armed himself at work since opening seven years ago. Like Havens, he’s never needed to brandish the weapon.”


“As for customers, Frazer generally holds them to a don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy. He said people rarely walk in with an exterior holster. But if they do? Not a problem, as long as they’re licensed.”

“’I’m fine if people want to concealed carry, as long as they have their license. Same thing with open carry,’ Frazer said. ‘I know that Amarillo is not the Wild Wild West, but it just makes me feel more comfortable to have it with me.’”

But some Texas business owners don’t feel the same.

“I feel you shouldn’t be able to carry guns around in public in a place with too many people. Someones’s going to get hurt,” said Shi Lee owner Charlottee (sic) Brown in the story. “You have someone walk in and sit down to eat and they see that they’re sitting by one of their enemies…things are going to go bad.”

She must have some temperamental customers, with a lot of vendettas. Despite her policy toward her customers, Brown says she plans to get a gun soon to defend herself when she’s alone at the business. When asked by what kind of gun, she said, “something that hurts.”

Some businesses simply would rather customers kept their firearms concealed, as to not cause any problems with other diners.

“When you see someone walk in with a firearm, it’s one more thing our manager has to manage,” said Susan Humphrey, the HR manager at Hoffbrau Steaks, in the story . “When somebody walks in with a gun out and another guest takes offense to it, that is one more thing the manager has to address — the guest being offended by it, not the actual gun in the holster.”

The story also quotes some restaurant workers who say the need for one to defend oneself is more important than a few offended customers.

In 1998, Victor Leal was the owner of Leal’s Restaurant in Muleshoe when his employee, 19-year-old Yvette Barraz, was abducted by her stalker ex-boyfriend and beaten to death with a claw hammer. He grabbed her when she left her shift at the restaurant.

Leal now carries a Kimber in .45 ACP and doesn’t let his employees walk to their cars alone, the story says. He says a firearm would absolutely helped Barraz in her situation.

“I wish I would have been more aware of (what was going on) and had taken precautions,” Leal said in the story. “When you have something like that happen, it makes you realize how real things like that are.”

“You never know, some crazy person could come in and want to rob you,” Havens said in the story. “It just gives you a sense of security, having (a gun) nearby. And I hope I never use it.”

For the full story from, go here.