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Subway asks customers to stop open carrying guns in restaurants

Subway restaurant in Fairplay, Colorado. ( DrunkDriver, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
July 21, 2020

The Subway sandwich restaurant chain recently updated its corporate policies with a request that customers not open carry their firearms in stores, even in U.S. states where open carry is permitted by law.

In a July update to its health and safety guidelines, Subway requested customers, excluding authorized law enforcement officers, remove or conceal otherwise open-carried firearms.

“For the consideration and comfort of restaurant employees and guests, Subway respectfully requests that guests (other than authorized law enforcement) refrain from openly displaying firearms inside restaurants,” the statement reads, “even in states where ‘open carry’ is permitted.”

The statement from the restaurant chain did not provide specifics as to why Subway had adopted the new policy, however, the change appears to follow a pressure campaign by the gun control advocacy groups such as Guns Down America, requesting the restaurant chain ban the open carry of firearms.

“43,167 Americans signed our coalition petition and we sent 3,175 letters to Subway executives,” the group wrote in a statement on its petition campaign. “We also partnered with Newtown Action Alliance, Moms Rising, and Daily Kos on a letter to Subway CEO John Chidsey that was signed by 153 families and survivors directly impacted by gun violence.”

The Winston-Salem Journal reported photos from May of Subway customers in Raleigh, North Carolina openly carrying shotguns and rifles in one of the restaurants sparked criticism. The same photos were included in the Guns Down America petition website.

Another customer with an inert AT4 rocket launcher strapped to his back was also photographed by Raleigh News & Observer photojournalist.

The new Subway policy did not include any reference to changes in policies for those who carry their firearms concealed, and the statement appears to suggest firearms are permitted as long as they are not openly displayed.

It is also unclear from the Subway policy how the restaurants will handle customers who violate the new policy.