Sonic Corp. is asking customers to refrain from bringing guns to its indoor restaurants and patio dining areas at Sonic Drive-Ins. The company had been under pressure to revise its firearms policies from the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Patrick Lennow, a spokesman for Oklahoma City-based Sonic, said the company has not changed its gun policy because it previously had no policy, instead relying on local laws.
“Sonic and our franchise owners work hard to provide an inviting environment for customers and employees alike. While we historically have relied upon local laws to guide how we address the display of guns at drive-ins, recent actions required we carefully reconsider this approach,” the company said in a statement. “We’ve considered the views and desires of our customers and employees that staff the drive-ins across the country.”
Most Sonic locations are drive-ins, where customers order in their cars, further complicating the gun issue. There are about 3,500 Sonic Drive-In franchise and corporate locations throughout 44 states. Sonic has about 270 locations in Oklahoma, which legalized the open carry of firearms in 2012.
“With respect to the storage of guns in vehicles, we ask that our customers continue to honor local laws,” Sonic said in its statement.
The group Moms Demand Action has asked several restaurant chains to ban guns in their dining areas after members of the Texas gun rights group Open Carry Texas began posting videos on YouTube of members carrying rifles and other firearms into restaurants in San Antonio. One video, which since has been deleted, showed a group of men carrying rifles to a Sonic patio dining area in Texas. A Sonic employee asked the men to leave the restaurant.
“We are heartened that we can take our children to these family-oriented restaurants and not worry about being confronted by customers with semiautomatic rifles,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said in a statement Friday in response to the new Sonic policy on guns.
The restaurant chain Chili’s also moved to revise its gun policy on Friday in response to a petition from the group Moms Demand Action. The restaurant chain Chipotle banned guns at its restaurants last week after pressure from the group.