When you think about Chipotle, a few images spring to mind. Baby-sized burritos. Mysterious secret menu items. More recently, literary cups. Military-style rifles, however, probably wouldn't come to mind for most people.
This week, however, Chipotle kindly asked that its customers not openly brandish firearms within its stores, when it released a statement saying that "the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers."
The incident was apparently provoked over the weekend, when a few gun owners associated with a group called Open Carry Texas strolled into their neighborhood burrito chain and snapped a few photos with their rifles out. "There were a few AR-15s there. The rifles were loaded," said Alex Clark, a member of the Dallas Chapter. "There's no reason to carry an unloaded weapon—it wouldn't do any good."
The photo apparently caught the attention of the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America—which recently claimed victory after convincing Facebook to clamp down on its firearms sales policies—and was mobilized into an online petition and a hashtag on Twitter: #BurritosNotBullets. The group's actions purportedly caused the Denver-based food chain to issue a response.
It isn't totally clear if Chipotle is issuing an outright ban, but it doesn't seem to keen on pressing the issue either way. "The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request," said Chipotle in a statement. "And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle."