A restaurant owner doesn’t want to serve customers who own guns that look scary because she says doing so would violate her conscience. It is her right to allow or ban firearms in her restaurants, but this is ridiculous.
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Anne Verrill, who owns two restaurants in Maine, the Foreside Tavern & Side Bar in Falmouth and Grace restaurant in Portland, explained in a series of Facebook posts that she will no longer serve customers who own “semi-automatic” guns similar to the one used by the terrorist who killed 49 and injured an additional 53 in Orlando last month. She says the same rule applies for anyone who supports the right of others to own a similar rifle.
She wrote on Facebook that “Anyone who supports an individual’s right to own a automatic rifle, specifically AR-15 owners, will not be allowed in my restaurants. I want to teach my children love, not violence.” Yes, because stopping gun owners from coming into a restaurant is a logical, practical way to stop violence and hate.
The posts were deleted after a large backlash against her anti-gun mentality. Pro gun advocates threatened to boycott the restaurants. What makes this story even worse is Maine is an open carry state, known for its outdoor sports and large hunting population. Merrill claimed that these semi-automatic weapons are “weapons of war.”
It’s probably a good thing Verrill lives in Portland, Maine, instead of Oregon, as refusing to serve customers based on one’s convictions can cost small business owners a fair amount of money and even force them out of business all together. In Oregon in 2003, bakery owners refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple because the owners said it violated their conscience. Those store owners were threatened and boycotted and ended up paying more than $135,000 in “emotional damage.”
Verrill wrote a follow-up post on Facebook, insisting that she wouldn’t stop “fighting for a better world” even if it costs her business. “If evil and hate want to boycott my restaurants then so be it—because I believe good will be on my side on this,” she wrote. “As long as my doors are open I will believe that love is love.”
The right to own weapons is our constitutional right and with this right we should have the ability to carry when we please, where we please, especially in a open carry state.