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Panera Bread to Become Latest Gun-Free Zone

Panera Bread has decided to ban the open carrying of weapons in its cafes.

The move comes after a growing number of restaurants and retailers – including Target, Starbucks and Chipotle – have decided to implement their own policies to stop customers from carrying their guns – sometimes in menacing groups – into stores to demonstrate their Second Amendment rights.

In the statement issued by the company, Panera said that it wants to create an atmosphere where all patrons and customers feel safe and welcome.

“To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer,” the statement said. “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.”

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the anti-gun lobby group that worked with Panera for months to change its policy, claim the restaurant chain’s move will help keep everyone safer.

“We applaud Panera for working with us to proactively to develop its new policy, and for standing up for the safety of its customers and employees,” they said via Facebook.

They also encouraged those who agreed with the new rule to tweet Panera Bread to “say thank you for having gunsense.”

Not surprisingly, Open Carry Texas reacted by claiming that guns in stores actually make people safer and stop corporations from being sued.

“Businesses, this is what happens when you take away the right of an individual to defend himself and align yourselves with gun control extremists,” the group said on Facebook,  pointing to a recent case where Jack in the Box had to pay out big after a person was beaten in one of their store’s parking lot. “You take on the responsibility to keep your customers safe. And if you can’t, you will pay them.”

For the record, the Jack in the Box lawsuit came about after store employees were found not to have done enough to stop the massive after-hours brawl in their parking lot, not as the result of a patron being attacked in the store itself.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Moms Demand Action

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Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.