Most of us think of chain restaurants like Outback steakhouse as fast, friendly places to grab lunch or dinner from – and Outback’s theming and atmosphere reinforce this image. It turns out that Outback may not be quite as welcoming as they portray themselves, at least when it comes to citizens who legally bear arms – and even law enforcement officers.
Home of the Bloomin’ Onion (3,000 calories worth of fried, batter dipped root vegetable) and steak, the chain does its best to replicate the look and feel of the Australian Outback. In addition to offering food and décor that bring to mind the wilds of Australia, the chain is apparently committed to duplicating the nation’s stance on gun ownership, ensuring diners are helpless and unable to defend themselves should the need arise.
No Rules…Except this One
Outback Steakhouse’s long-time tagline “No Rules, Just Right” does not apply to all situations at the restaurant. One off-duty law enforcement officer found this out when he visited a location in Tennessee. Upon arriving at Outback Steakhouse in full uniform, officer Andrew Ward of the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency was asked to remove his gun and place it in his trunk. A post on Ward’s Facebook page explains:
“I was approached by the manager and asked if I would put my gun in my truck. I let her know that I couldn’t because I was in uniform. She then went and made a call and came back and we were asked to leave because Outback is a gun free zone.”
A customer apparently initiated a compliant, stating she was “scared for her life” of the police and asked to be escorted out of the restaurant, just in case Officer Ward attacked. Eventually, the restaurant asked the Wards to leave based on the woman’s demands.
What is this country coming to? A uniformed Law Enforcement Officer who is sworn to protect and serve the public, is refused service because they have a firearm! I am disgusted and have no other words!!!
Outback’s gun-free policy simply doesn’t make sense and led the company to ask the Ward family to leave, simply because another patron complained. A uniformed police officer is customarily permitted to carry firearms in establishments; it is considered a benefit to the public and a way to enhance safety. George W. Bush even signed the Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act (LEOSA), that allows law enforcement officers who meet the criteria to carry a firearm anywhere they go.
After tossing them out into the street, Outback later tried to make amends with the Ward family, probably after seeing the response to Ward’s social media posts. The statement from the brand’s parent company blamed the employees involved and not company policy; they also offered the family a $100 gift card as an apology.
This situation cast a national spotlight on both Outback’s backwards gun policy and the public opinion regarding officers legally carrying weapons in public places.
~ American Gun News