Uniformed Law Enforcement Officer asked to Leave Outback Steakhouse Because of Legal Firearm

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

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101 Responses

  1. I nor my family will never dine at Outback Steakhouse again!

    1. Your reaction is a little overboard considering the restaurant apologized and offered a great gift certificate. Don’t you know the Outback Steak House is a franchise? So why punish others for a mistake one made AND corrected? Your reaction is almost a reflexive liberal one.

      1. “the restaurant apologized and offered a great gift certificate. Don’t you know the Outback Steak House is a franchise?”

        They apologized only after negative feedback and as a franchise it states that she called someone and then came back and asked him to leave.

        If you stand for nothing you will fall for everything. This is corporate policy and they only backed down after they took the heat.

        Eat their if you want but yo only allow them to carry this forward.

        Good riddance!

    1. I bet your right and i bet she got her meal for free that she was probably going to complain about anyways so tht she would have got it for free anyway than i bet she didnt even tip cause we all no they dont and what funny still is that her black cop so called cop fearing slanderous ass will be the first to call and AXX!! The POPO for help when one of their niggas is getting shot and killed or when their drugs stash just got robbed out of their section 8 housing or cause there was a drive by in their HOOD!! How about this not one of them can ever call the POPO and ask them to put their lives on the line to come save their black ass again!! They fear for their lives cause of a cop than dont call them for help ever again

  2. I will never eat at an Outback restaurant again.

      1. Sounds like your the only liberal posting here. Yuri Bezmenov has you pegged to a tee. Don’t know who he is then look up his interview on youtube comrade but as he says you can be shown the facts and you would still not believe it.

  3. another Restaurant to avoid thanks for the info

  4. I had not been to an Outback restaurant in a long time…now, it appears I will NEVER go back! EVER!!
    I AM a legally-armed American citizen, so, when they disrespected this LEO, they disrespected ME, as well!
    Goodbye, Outback…back to Ryan’s. Better yet, Starlight Diner, in Hanover, PA! Best EVERYTHING!

    1. Ryan’s started in JAcksonville FL, and has since left. I wish they were back again.

    1. I was going to go to Outback’s, but I won’t now. Never again. I will not support anyone or anything that disrespects our police.

  5. I guess it is lack of employee training regarding this issue. It is a well known fact that police officers in full uniform must carry their weapons. Imagine what would ha e happened if a thug entered while they were eating and started shooting. How could the policeman help if his gun was tucked away in the car’s trunk? Plain stupidity on the managers part. The customer who complained should have been explained the situation. If she was scared of a legally carrying police officered maybe she should not go out to eat out of her house. That is plain stupidity. I guess that customer will not call the police in case she has a situation in her life that requires the presence of police officers. Go figure!

  6. That is one restaurant I’ve just scratched off my list. I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

  7. I would have thrown the complainant out. What Absolute BS!! This country is in one hell of a mess.
    This tendency to cater to the fringe left has got to stop.

    1. I take it you’re not an American. What about European countries that continue to admit large numbers of Muslim “refugees” despite their high level of crime and their rejection of assimilation?

  8. Make an armed cop leave your premises? You clowns can stick blooming onion up your blooming arse.

  9. Well, I guess I won’t be visiting my neighborhood Outback any more. I carry so I suppose I’m not welcome there. I’ve carried my concealed weapon into many restaurants and nobody ever got hurt but if Outback feels I am dangerous then I surely don’t want to upset them.

  10. Apparently you really do not want feedback as my first attempt told me i was doing this too fast! By whose standards? You really should start using common sense when you deal with the public. Why should a hysterical woman have more rights than me? I want the officer there! You should be ashamed of your policy; your staff should be ashamed that they cannot handle an unbalanced woman; the person your staff spoke with about this should be ashamed that they are so narrow minded. I do not feel safe in your restaurant now, because of your myopic view of liberty! You just lost this customer.

  11. Outback is going to feel this business wise. Very bad publicity, goodbye Outback !!

  12. I will never eat here again the officer has sworn to uphold and defend and protect so MR no gun policy. Now what

  13. OK, so here is my question. Who did they call to safely escort their scared patron out of the restaurant? Another cop? The U.S. Marines? Maybe the Hells Angels? How stupid can we get in this country?

  14. This is what the politicaly correct cultural has brought us. Next if you are white, Hispanic and a whole host of others, no service. I guess I will not be going there again, bummer.

  15. I am deeply disturbed by what Outback did to this officer. I hope that someone has looked into Outback violating law in obstructing justice by not allowing this officer to eat in their establishment.

  16. To hell with outback steakhouse, they need to pack their s#@t up and take it back to the outback!!!
    And seriously that Lefty snowflake is in fear for life from a law enforcement officer. Go away!!!!

  17. What color was the woman that complained about the armed police officer? Just asking.

  18. Shame on Outback restaurant employees. If outback had an emergency in the restaurant and called the police would the officers need to remove there weapons before they entered the restaurant? Maybe the woman who was upset with the officer and his family in the restaurant might want to seek some mental help. She is the person who is dangerous!

  19. We enjoy going to the Outback in Gainesville, Ga. but we will no longer will visit any Outback any where any more. Our officers should have full respect from the public less he or she has done some thing wrong. As for a Outback Manager to make the officer leave because of a women who just makes a remark of being afraid is putting him or her in the place of a judge. If Outback is a gun free zone I wouldn’t want to go there knowing freegun zones are soft spots where shootings are likely to happen . No more Outbacks dinning for me and my family. One more greasy spoons eating from Outbacks gonefrom my eating places when traveling. Where do they get there managers from?

  20. Shame on outback! Law enforcement should boycot this chain!

  21. Policemen,military,patriots,and people that understand being protected by these folks need to massively boycott this company . What happens when a bad actor comes in and harms them or robs them??? This is plain stupid as for me and my family i will never go there again. This company is a joke!!!!!!!!!!

  22. First, I’m curious on when this occurred. Secondly, isn’t Tennessee an open carry state anyways?

    1. Yes it does, its conceal or open carry, but if a store puts up a no guns sign on every entry into the store then you can be arrested if you do carry there. You can’t fix stupid but you can put them in padded mental cells so they are not dangerous to them selves and others.

  23. I will never spend another dime at Outback Steakhouse! The fact I have not herd that the manager was fired is the reason I will never back!

  24. My wife and I live in California and I am a retired State Safety Officer and former Deputy Sheriff. One of my sons is a Sheriff’s Sergeant and his son is an MP in the US Army.
    We will NEVER eat at an Outback restaurant again.
    The next time there is a crime at one of your restaurants give thought to whom you are calling for help.
    Your policy sucks!
    Morro Bay, CA

  25. Perfect example of the “gun free zone” mind set!—-Might just as well post a sign stating “multiple targets inside”.
    Add Outback to schools, theaters, shopping malls, churches, concerts, and sports events as danger zones!

  26. Definitely very stupid move by local Outback manager, who was likely an anti-gun person.
    His defenders may argue that armed Tennessee wildlife resource officers do dress or look like regular police.
    Their uniform is a dark green pant with a khaki long sleeve and a tie that matches the pants.
    They may or may not wear a green baseball hat. A badge and name tag are on the shirt.
    From the side, back or with a jacket these officers may not look much like one to a ignorant cop-hating lay person, especially when with family.

  27. I as well will never again eat at Outback Stake House, If they don’t respect Law Enforcement then they dose respect gun owners , they we don’t need them. Lets see how they like that.

  28. Will never eat at outback again. They better start saving the blooming onion to put in their blooming rear for such a act.

  29. im a retired leo, i was going to get a gift card for a leo friend for #100.00. now i can save my money and go elsewhere. never again will i got to outback.

  30. This tears it. My family and I will not ever eat at this establishment again. The nerve of this manager. Doesn’t this moron realize that peace officers who are in uniform are exempt from gun free zones. I bet if a perpetrator came in this establishment to do harm and/or rob the place, they would be thinking differently. What a crock of shit.

    1. BUT but but Robert, you just don’t understand! If in the event someone did come in to rob the store they only have to tell them that it is a gun free zone, and that they have to leave and will not be served from the cash register until they take their guns back outside!

  31. Now we know which restaurant chain is gun free (even to the exclusion of armed LEOs), making these restaurants sure bets one can come in and rob the employees and patrons alike. So, if anyone wants to go out to a steakhouse for lunch or dinner, understand this: OUTBACK is NOT the place to go. Only scofflaws and miscreants will be swarming these restaurants. This lady probably had in mind to commit a crime, and having a LEO in her presence was what was making her feel so uncomfortable.

    Now the question that comes to my mind is this: if it is true that the LEOSA “allows law enforcement officers who meet the criteria to carry a firearm anywhere they go” and this officer was still disallowed service, what are the enforcement criteria? Should OUTBACK Corp be sued or fined for violating the LEOSA?

  32. I hope those of us who support our police will boycott Outback and Outback should be told that no police will respond should there be a need.

  33. So Outback should just close it’s doors & go back to Australia as it just became a very dangerous place to be. Do not take children or anybody you love there. Time to arm everybody as ONLY a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Becoming a gun free zone makes Outback a zone I will never go to again.

  34. This has to be one of the dumbest moves by a restaurant I’ve been made aware of. Can’t believe the huge majority of patrons wouldn’t feel MUCH safer in this restaurant. I know I would. Is this really the chain’s feelings about legal carrying of a gun by no less than a police officer? Maybe I need to take a 2nd look at where I dine because my wife & I frequent the Orland Park store at least monthly……

  35. They, (OutBack) should have told the woman to leave the place because she was to Stupid to eat with good people..

  36. This kind of behavior is totally out of line. Outback has seen the last of me or anyone that I can influence. The customer should have been informed that law enforcement officers are required by law to be armed whenever in uniform. Then asked to leave if they were uncomfortable. What are we coming to as a nation??

  37. If I was the manager of that Outback or any one of them, and some narrow minded nut job liberal complained about a bona fide LEO carrying his duty side arm, and started raising hell about it. THEY would be the one leaving for making an ass out of themselves in my place of business.

    Furthermore, any place of business that I run personally not only I would be armed but so would my employees, and any customers that are legally and responsibly carrying would not only be welcome but so would their assistance!

  38. This is another example of politically correct stupidity! Since 1951 all but one mass shooting in the U.S. has taken place in a “gun-free zone”. Apparently, gun-free zones are a magnet for those willing to kill multiple people without the danger of anyone shooting back.
    I refuse to patronize any establishment that is a gun-free zone, simply because they are very dangerous places. These establishments in a “feel-good” effort to be politically correct rob their patrons of the ability of self-protection and yet do nothing to provide security for the establishment.
    The real crime here is that if this incident happened in Tennessee, then Outback was actually breaking the law. The law in Tennessee allows establishments to declare that they are gun free zones, but uniformed law enforcement is exempt.

  39. This, Outback Steak House should have welcomed any Law Enforcement
    officer, with gratuity, let alone “inviting” him and his family to leave. As a
    retired Officer Of The Law, I would encourage everyone to boycott.

  40. Polic departments through out this country should ban any responce to Outback as there officers are not allowed to enter while armed. I spent 8 years as a police officer and was never told to leave when I went into schools, eating places,business places or even into avowed anti gun people,minority homes and business’s as a matter of fact all these places thanked me for being there of course this was in the 70s and 80s. I am sick of this PC society where a single person or group can demand and get others removed or forced to cater to their beliefs and or feelings. We will not enter an Outback again no matter how good the food and service is.

  41. Won’t see me at an Outback, ever again. Hope the crooks aren’t on FB, they will see a golden opportunity to eat free.

  42. Looks like another favorite restaurant chain of mine will no longer get my business. Until they post a public statement with the announced firing of the manager of that restaurant I will not be back. Support your local cops!!

  43. I left a “comment” on the Outback website about this. What a shame that businesses, catering to a VERY VAST RANGE of folks will take such a narrow stance on an issue such as this. As other posters have written, if an Outback restaurant were being robbed, would the police be allowed to come in with their weapons or would they have to leave them in their squad cars? Do “requirements” of entities with officers who are required to carry sidearms rules/laws have precedence over corporate entities rules? If the State says a person is legally able to carry, when does the choosing of a private entity have precedence over the State requirement? just wondering.


  44. Shame on Out Back. It is a really good restaurant But to disrespect the police, firemen or military is unforgivable.

  45. more than 1 comment. 1- if out back a gun free zone then if being robbed or terrorized, law enforcement should not respond. if they respond with uniforms & guns they violate company policies. on other hand if they respond without weapons they not violate police procedures but subject themselves 2 unnecessary danger.


  47. Well when OUTBACK is Robbed and they call Police they need to be advised that Officers can not respond BECAUSE OUTBACK IS A GUN FREE ZONE.!! I will not go to Outback if they do not want my gun they do not want my money because my gun goes where my money goes.!!

  48. I used to enjoy going to Outback but as of now, I will no longer go to any of their stores! God bless all of the police officers who risk their lives every day to protect even the mental retarded like the woman who complained!

  49. No one needs Outback. These fools have just made themselves a target for a mass shooting by labeling themselves as “gun free”. It is no longer safe to eat there! With no chance of protection, I will steer clear of this idiot libtard establishment.

  50. add us to the list!!! no more outback steakhouse!!!! will be sending this to everyone we know…. as they say, “you can’t fix stupid, even with duct tape”

  51. No more Outback for me or my family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. I was a regular at outback, but now I find i cannot go back when they ask a police officer to leave because of some hair brain diner was afraid of her life, what bull —- I will never go to one again and will send this story to all my friends.

  53. I never liked Outback anyway!!! Good riddance.

  54. Absolute stupidity! What are they going to do when they get robbed? Have the police respond without their weapons? Lost my business.

  55. The woman is mentally incompetent, and is one that should be checked by a doctor so that she does not get a gun and harm anyone.

  56. the complainer should have been asked to leave. I will never eat at Outback again

    1. I really have to agree, the complainant should have been to one asked to leave!

  57. There are many establishments that I will no longer patronize due to gun policy, such as Starbucks, but this treatment of the officer and his family does not appear to be company policy. I will ask about policy at my local Outback! I will patronize if they have a positive attitude towards uniformed police.

  58. It is regrettable that Outback has taken the “no guns” position. I was a very regular customer (~five or six visits per week) prior to the posting of the no gun policy. I don’t believe I have been back since that and have no intention to return.

    I have no doubt that I will not be missed. However, if we ban together it can make a difference. Whether you plan to carry or not, just don’t patronize unless they are gun friendly.

  59. It is so very sad to hear things like this.
    I have never liked this place, the sucks and the service is horrible, this applies to all the Outback’s I have been to the service and food are the same in everyone of them.

    I am licensed to carry concealed, and I do not patronize establishments that do not allow individuals who are licensed to carry. These gun free zones just invite trouble.
    And I for one would not hesitate to sue these places should I or my family be put in a situation where we cannot defend ourselves. We would all be millionaires.


  60. So I assume that if an outback gets robbed they will call the nearest gangbangers or drug dealers to investigate the crime, since they are afraid of the police.

  61. We in this country are in trouble. This specific location of the Out Back chain needs some real training, in what 1st responders, do. As far as I know, people that carry a shield are 1st responders, “On and Off” duty. That means our Military (most don’t carry a badge), Police Officers, Fire Fighters, etc. You should treat them with respect and dignity, especially while their in Uniform. Also, there are a lot citizens that have come and gone before this Law Enforcement Officer did, that privately carried firearms, hidden from public view and this store has been or is oblivious to that fact. I won’t stop going to the Out Back restaurants because of this one dumb ass, manager.

  62. I read today that one of your employees in a restaurant in Tennessee did not allow a uniformed police officer to dine with his family unless he removed his gun. Obviously that was a ridiculous decision. Be it known to you that the $100 offered the officer in no way make up for the lack of respect that the was shown. Had that restaurant had an issue with an unruly customer they would have expected a cadre of officers bearing guns to show ASAP.
    I will not be visiting an Outback any time soon unless this officer, and all officers are shown due respect.

    Jim Colon

  63. Hey I’m not a dumb as, I’ll go eat wherever the cop does. Especially in a strange town on the road. I don’t mind some protection. I have a hunch that woman was some type of criminal and the cop scared her as that does with all criminals but the restaurant didn’t realize that.

  64. I know one thing, we USED to frequent Outback & give gift cards on Christmas, but I NO LONGER feel SAFE
    in an Outback! I myself am a CC law abiding gun owner & being in the Chicago area, I never leave home
    without it. But after reading that Outback bowed to a hysterical leftist scares me even more.
    They have lost my business & my Large families too. None of us will EVER eat at an Outback EVER again!
    Reading this disgusts me, I don’t feel I’m living in the USA anymore.
    I love our LEO’s & will always support them….especially over hysterical managers & cop haters!
    A $100 gift card does NOT make up for this Outback! Looks like you lost enough people to really hurt
    your pocketbook & the corporate morons that own the company!

  65. As a retired military officer whose son is a paramedic and whose nephew is a LEO, I have just eaten my last meal at any Outback Steakhouse, including the one in my hometown in South Carolina

  66. I think that the woman complaining, should have been asked to pay her bill and leave (there’s no since in letting that woman to skip out on her bill), that’s ridiculous for that policeman and his family to have to leave. He couldn’t take off his gun, because then he would be out of uniform, and besides a policeman is always a target, and with out his gun, he would end up dead if some thug took advantage of seeing a policeman without his weapon. Of course I would never eat there again, because i am a concealed weapon permit holder and I would never patronize an establishment that fobid guns to be in their place of business.

  67. Our local Outback use to display that “No guns allowed – Gun Free Zone” sign on their door, until I called the manager outside and explained to her that the sign was an open invitation to anyone who wanted to rob them of do a mass shooting.. She said the Police could be there in five minutes.. I asked her if she knew how many people could be killed in five minutes. And, I told her that I saw none of her employees who I felt could protect me in case of an active shooter and reminded her that the ensuing lawsuit that would follow, would be like me winning the lottery.. The sign was taken down the following week. I carry concealed under Florida’s Concealed Carry Law and also under the Federal LEOSA statue. Basically, I ignore those “No guns allowed” signs..

  68. I used to be a regular customer of OUTBACK, but not anymore. And not because I am pissed at how they treated that LEO. The reason is plain and simple, OUTBACK has announced to the whole country that they are a ‘GUN FREE’ zone. They have, in effect, marked them selves as a target. I can help but wonder how long it will be until we see news reports of armed thuds moving in on a restaurant full of diners, shooting whoever they like and robbing everyone, and the business. SO, OUTBACK, since I have absolutely NO desire to be part of aformentioned activity, I will NOT be spending my hard earned money in any of your restaurants.

  69. I would think the left would say the complainer should sue even with all the support for the officer

    1. The ‘complainer’ need professional help.

  70. If you are refusing service to Law Enforcement people in uniform (with firearm ), then you don’t need my patronage either. And take your phony Australian ideas back to Australia. I hope when the next time one of your establishments are robbed or catches, fire the response is “We are unable to respond because we are carrying a firearm” or ” We are unable to approach the fire because it may be too dangerous to our firemen”. TAKE A KNEE WITH THE REST OF THE COUNTRY’S FLAKES! We Veterans are sad to see the way this country is headed and your attitude isn’t helping.

  71. No need to boycott. Fire the lefty employees, reprimand the owner and mandate a sign on the door admitting ARMED LEO’s.

  72. I am sad to say I along with three friends dined at Outback two weeks ago. We will never dine at Outback again until it offers this officer and his family free meals for a year and issues a public apology to this officer for Outbacks utter ignorance. One last thing, do not call the cops if you are being robbed. They carry guns to robberies.

  73. If you respect the men and women that put on a uniform every day to try and protect the rest of us, then show your gratitude and “Stay The Hell Out of Outback”.

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