Panera Bread Asks Law-Abiding Citizens to Leave Guns at Home

By AWR Hawkins

Panera Bread Asks Law-Abiding Citizens to Leave Guns at Home
Panera Bread Asks Law-Abiding Citizens to Leave Guns at Home
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Washington DC – -( On September 8 2014, Panera Bread bakery-cafes joined Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Chili's, Sonic, and Target in asking law-abiding customers to shop unarmed in its stores.

The news originally broke on Twitter, where Everytown for Gun Safety tweeted Panera's request: “Please don't bring guns into our cafes.”

According to the Huffington Post, Panera released the following statement:

Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.

On July 2 2014, Target “respectfully” requested that law-abiding citizens shop unarmed, and Breitbart News reported the chain was robbed twice in the days after the request was made. And on July 22 2014, just weeks after Target's request, Breitbart News reported a murder in a Los Angeles-area Target parking lot.

On May 23, Breitbart News also covered two robberies and a shooting in the weeks that followed Jack in the Box's request that law-abiding citizens enter its business unarmed, as well.

On September 2 2014, it was reported that 57,000 businesses were fighting back against the gun control push that led Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Chili's, Sonic, Target–and now Panera–to ask customers, who adhere to the law, to shop unarmed.

Those 57,000 businesses are putting “guns welcome” signs on their front doors.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.  

AWR Hawkins writes for all the BIG sites, for Pajamas Media, for, for and now AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

His southern drawl is frequently heard discussing his take on current events on radio shows like America's Morning News, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, the Ken Pittman Show, and the NRA's Cam & Company, among others. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal (summer 2010), and he holds a PhD in military history from Texas Tech University.

If you have questions or comments, email him at [email protected] You can find him on facebook at

  • 24 thoughts on “Panera Bread Asks Law-Abiding Citizens to Leave Guns at Home

    1. We have Panera restaurants in San Antonio and I like their food. I WAS a regular at the one near my home; however, I had to tell them I won’t be coming in anymore because of their new policy. The manager, who is a friend of mine (although he wasn’t aware I always carry – since I carry concealed), said it’s just a meaningless corporate PR thing and I could just leave my gun in the car if I was uncomfortable, or just ignore it since they are being vey careful NOT to post any signage (like the “30.06 sign” mentioned in Tex’s post) that would legally ban guns. So I had to explain why their new policy is driving me away; and I asked him to pass my reasoning on to upper level management too. Here’s the problem with going in despite their public policy statement, even though they won’t know, and it’s legal anyhow:

      (This is a re-post of an earlier post of mine in another blog)

      There is a problem (actually 2 problems; 1 political, and 1 practical) with simply continuing to patronize them while carrying concealed, and it is important that people like us stand up and point this out to their corporate managers.

      To understand the corporate management’s decision to make this statement, which THEY undoubtedly think is innocuous and essentially meaningless, because their lawyers have told them so, you have to think like a corporate manager. The MDA approached them and basically threatened a well funded anti-Panera PR campaign (even if only tacitly – but the threat would be implicit, especially after their recent billboard attacks on Kroger’s). The corporate management saw the problem as one of avoiding bad press from MDA, while still not actually alienating their gun-toting patrons. Their legal staff have told them this kind of statement won’t impact their business much, because gun owners will know they are still legally able to come in anyhow, as long as no actual signs get posted. So the management agreed to make a seemingly conciliatory statement in public, but would not change their actual policies, and they could “hide behind” the state laws on CCW if pressed further by MDA. From the corporation’s perspective, that sounds like a “win-win” scenario; it gets the MDA off their case, and doesn’t really alienate (they thought) any of their clientele. They certainly did not foresee the unexpected backlash and loss of support in the public sphere, or they would probably not have issued the statement in the first place. But that would mean they’d have to have decided to go with the threatened bad PR campaign from MDA, which they’d only do if they saw it as the lesser of 2 evils (ie, less likely to hurt their business). They are missing three important points however, and it is critical for us to raise these issues to the level of corporate awareness, so that they will also be considered by other corporations that may be similarly approached by MDA (or some other, similar, group) in the future. Don’t think for a moment that corporate executives from other companies aren’t watching how this plays out, either. These guys talk to each other and they routinely try to learn from each other’s experiences, both good and bad.

      Here is what the corporate execs are missing:

      1) The majority of the general public does not oppose the responsible carrying of guns, either openly or concealed, in public. So they are likely to find this sort of “ban” (even if they know it is only a PR exercise with no legal force) to be an unwarranted and unjust infringement on civil rights, favoring a small segment of the public at the expense of others, rather than a safety matter.

      2) There is a wealth of data now being more widely disseminated in the public sphere, that demonstrates that public shootings, particularly mass shootings, occur exclusively in places that are believed to ban guns. Thus, the public is becoming increasingly aware that, if anything, places with these policies are actually likely to become MORE dangerous, rather than less so.

      3) Related to the previous issue, the upper corporate management is still unaware that even the making of a fairly innocuous, essentially “non-ban” type statement such as this one by Panera, will be seen by potential armed robbers as evidence that those companies are safer to rob than other places that have not publicly made such policy statements. Nefarious individuals are likely to believe, probably correctly, that most of the concealed carry crowd will either stop eating at Panera, or will not be carrying there, if they do still come in. Thus, the practical danger of being involved in a shootout at Panera will now be greater than it was before their statement. Frankly, while I carry concealed 24/7, I also avoid going to “biker bars” or other places that increase the probability that I’ll be involved in a shooting. Panera needs to know that their statement, however innocuous they thought it would be, has just added them to that list.

      The number of gun-packing folks who patronize Panera (and virtually any other store, except a gun shop) is such a small percentage of their business that we cannot realistically hope to make any significant difference by an open boycott, or threat thereof. HOWEVER, the perception that offending this small percentage may result in a much larger segment of the public turning against them, WILL get their attention. In this, we are helped greatly by the recent polls that show the public strongly supported Kroger for their refusal to give in to MDA, and the even more recent polls showing the major loss of public goodwill towards Panera when they DID cave to MDA.
      I have spoken to a number of store managers, from different chains that implemented “no guns” policies, over the last year or so, and the argument that carries the most weight, and makes them “sit up and take notice,” is usually the one that goes: “I speak for many Americans who are simply offended by your company’s anti-civil rights (I use those words) stance.” I sometimes say I would no more patronize a store with a “no guns allowed” policy, than I would a store that had a “Whites Only” policy (I’m white), and for the same reason. When I also point out that I will tell all my friends about their anti-civil rights policies, not to mention the fact that their store is now more likely to be the scene of an armed robbery, they are typically quite surprised, and obviously haven’t given these issues any thought yet.

      The real problem is to get this information up to a higher level of corporate management then a local store manager. The best way to do that is probably by going into your local store and telling the manager (not just the counter person) that you are sorry, but for the above reasons you just don’t feel comfortable (use that word) in their store (or restaurant) anymore. You might also mention the recent national polls about Panera and Kroger’s, but it isn’t really necessary, because I guarantee you, the upper level management is already aware of them. They are just hoping the widespread antagonism to their policy will be short-lived and soon die down as another news item takes the headlines. So, to counter this, you need to keep going in periodically, “just checking to see if the company has changed its policy yet,” to keep them aware that the issue is still alive, and still impacting their business. If they haven’t changed their policy of course, you should then just sigh in disappointment, and leave without buying anything. It’s also a good idea to keep writing and/or E-mailing the corporate HQS about your displeasure with their policy.

    2. What the hell is a Panera Bread ? These fools can say no guns allowed but that in itself don’t make it inforceable. At least in Texas you have to have a specific 30.06 sign in order to be a criminal attracting ‘gun free zone’ ! I carry concealed and nobody ever knows I’m carrying anyways !

    3. The dumbest thing of all is Sonic is a drive-in. In on my car when I order. So should I leave my gun on the sidewalk since I can’t have it in my car?

    4. It’s simple. No guns, no money.

      Furthermore, the weenies at the NRA need to ante up some of the $$$ they suck from their members’ wallets and publicly shame these corporations for their anti-freedom stance. Any company that puts politics above business shouldn’t be in business!!!

    5. The Buffalo Wild Wings near my house here in Utah recently removed their no firearms sign on their front door. I think the owner realized that it was a stupid and largely unenforceable rule anyway!

    6. Their food sucks anyways. It won’t be missed. Bye Panera, that warm feeling is blood from your unarmed patrons when someone decides to go nuts and start shooting in a gun free enviroment and there is not an armed peraon around, wtg panera you just got your customera killed. That won’t reflect good on your comment cards.

    7. I work p/t at a retail big box store and have men and women shop open carry, don’t bother me one bit and even other customers just go about their business.

      Often meet up with them at the ranges.

    8. Here’s the problem with compromise- and it continues. I am NOT “pro 2nd Ammendment”, I am ANTI-Gun Laws. Without gun laws, I am confident stuff would “work itself out”. It’s like Abortion, I am not “Pro-life”, I am ANTI-abortion. See the difference? You’ve got to draw lines in the sand or someone will step all over you. And they are….

    9. Actually Saganhill,
      It IS my right to shop (or do anything else I want) armed. The 2nd Amendment clearly says that right will “not be infringed.” OK, I have no problem with private property owners telling me they don’t want my business, I can just go elsewhere, and I will. But the issue of infringement of an unalienable right, goes well beyond the issue of private property. Panera is not someone’s home, they are a restaurant offering services to the public. Thus, they are required by law to provide accessible parking, to serve customers regardless of their race or religion, etc. In the same way, they should be required to serve customers who come in armed, as long as it is legal and they behave peacefully. It is similar to the “No shirt, No shoes, No service” signs that were seen everywhere during the Hippie days. Unless the owners can come up with a valid rationale for denying service to people who don’t meet their dress code, they are discriminating against them, and THAT is an infringement of their civil rights. What about places that have dress codes requiring a “coat and tie?” Similar problem, which is why they always have spares to offer you, if you ask (sometimes you may have to DEMAND your rights).

    10. It is patently impossible to “respect the rights of gun owners,” while simultaneously asking them not to bring their guns into your stores. It is akin to saying, “We respect the rights of minorities to eat, but ask them not to do so in our restaurants.” Sooo, what would it look like if Panera “did NOT respect the rights of gun owners?” Would they ask us not to come in with our guns?…oh, wait…

      Any attack on the civil rights of one group in America, is an attack on the civil rights of all of us. It’s a shame, but I was a pretty steady customer before. Now I would no more eat there than in a place with a “Whites Only” sign on their front door, and for the same reason. Not to mention the decrease in safety there, now that bad guys have reason to think Panera will be a safer place to rob. I carry concealed 24/7, but I also try hard to avoid putting myself into situations or places in which I might have to shoot someone. Panera’s foolish public statement just added them to the list of places to avoid.

    11. I’m a democrat and I just wanted to say I don’t think there’s anything more American then our right to bear arms! Panera just lost my business for life!

    12. I see a ‘seminar poster’ has shown up to demean those who take responsibility for their own protection. Typical ‘Leftist’ response to an issue they’re loosing.

    13. @saganhill That “bull Sh1t dogma” you are crying like a bitch about is called Freedom. And yes we will shove it down your throat. Sucks to be you.

    14. In NEW Jersey there is no legal concealed or open carry. 1200 ccw permits in a state of 9 million and that 1200 includes retired police.

    15. So you idiots think its a right to “shop” armed? You people are f**ked up. It’s like religious nut bags wanting to force their bull sh1t dogma on everyone. Total insanity. IP:

    16. I open carry at the Chili’s in Salina and Wichita Kansas, Never have had a problem. Not sure where this is supposed to be, but here in Kansas have not seen problems there. Sonic would never know I have a gun, since it is drive thru around here, do not shop in Targay for obvious reasons, and do not support Chippotle for the illegal aliens they use.

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