Yesterday Panera Bread became another restaurant establishment asking customers to leave their guns at home, joining eateries like Chilis, Starbucks and stores like Target after pressure from anti-gun groups. Like other restaurant chains, Panera's official policy hasn't changed to an outright ban, but they've made clear customers carrying firearms for self-defense aren't welcome.
This "please leave your guns at home" policy is catching on, but as more restaurants join Panera and others like it, it's important to remind them of the horrifying Luby's Cafeteria massacre.
In 1991 Texas residents were banned by law from bringing firearms into restaurants. That same year, a mad man with an intent to kill as many people as possible, crashed his truck into a Lubys Cafeteria in Killeen. The man got out of his vehicle and shot 50 people, killing 23 of them. One of the survivors, Dr. Susan Gratia-Hupp, had left her gun in the parking lot and watched as her parents were executed in front of her. She was following the rules and obeying the law by leaving her gun in the car, right where the killer knew it would be. As Hupp describes in her own words, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Everyone was defenseless.
As a survivor of the Luby's massacre, Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws. She said that if there had been a second chance to prevent the slaughter, she would have violated the Texas law and carried the handgun inside her purse into the restaurant. She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.
Restaurants should think twice and review history before banning or suggesting customers refrain from carrying firearms into their establishments. Customers and their families should also consider the safety risks that come with eating at establishments seen as soft targets by criminals.