Panera Bread: ‘Leave your guns at home’

Shanon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and architect of the anti-open carry movement.

Shanon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and architect of the anti-open carry movement. (Photo: CBS)

Panera Bread released a statement on Monday requesting that gun owners refrain from bringing firearms into their store locations around the country.

“Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome,” began the statement.

“To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer,” it continued. “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 claims to be responsible for Panera’s change of heart on this issue.

“We are thrilled that after months of discussions between Panera and Moms Demand Action, Panera is taking a proactive position in favor of our families’ safety by putting a new gun policy in place,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, which falls under the Everytown for Gun Safety umbrella.

In an interview with CNBC, Panera CEO Ron Shaich commented on the decision.

“We’re simply respectfully requesting that people leave their guns at home,” said Shaich. “It’s that simple.”

Currently, Panera Bread has at least 1,800 bakery-cafés in 40 states around the country.

Shaich noted that Panera will still continue to follow local and state firearm laws and will not be posting “No firearms allowed” signs. Moreover, it won’t ask employees to enforce the ‘leave your firearms at home’ request.

“We’re certainly not going to put our associates in the position of confronting someone carrying a gun,” he said. “We won’t put our café management in the position of being law enforcement.”

Shaich emphasized that he didn’t want Panera to become a battleground for advocates on either side of the issue.

“I think what we feel is we’re trying to be respectful of people’s rights while at the same time ensuring that Panera isn’t the battleground for political statement,” said Shaich.

Meanwhile, Moms Demand Action is attempting to capitalize off this announcement and use it as momentum to encourage other businesses to embrace an anti-carry stance.

“We urge other national companies follow suit,” said Watts. “Panera’s smart announcement stands in stark contrast to Kroger, which has refused to adopt a similar policy despite numerous incidents of gun violence and people openly carrying rifles in their supermarkets.”

“With a patchwork of lax gun laws and background check loopholes in states across America, businesses like Kroger have a duty to respond to public safety concerns by adopting uniform policies that ensure we can take our children to the grocery store and not have to worry about being confronted by customers carrying semiautomatic rifles who may have never gone through a background check or safety training,” she continued.

Over the past year, Moms Demand Action has convinced Target, Chipotle, Starbucks, Sonic, Jack in the Box, and Chili’s to make similar requests of their gun-owning patrons. Currently, Moms Demand Action is applying heavy pressure to The Kroger Company, the food chain corporation, via an online and print advertising campaign.

To its credit, Kroger has yet to cave to the pressure. Maybe they’ll be the first ones to stand up to Moms Demand Action’s anti-carry agenda.

{ 61 comments… add one }
  • Mike February 24, 2016, 4:39 pm

    Panera is known as St. Louis Bread Company in the St. Louis area. Just so you know who to boycott when in St. Louis.

  • Gary November 7, 2015, 11:19 am

    A request is just that ‘A request’, I for one chose to ignore it. No sign, no request, that is the way I understand it and will honour it.
    For me I will not give up them wonderful Bagels until I see a sign. And yes, I even carry fulltime in my house, backyard working in garage and close enough to have in my hands from a lock box (RFID fast) at night. You people get work up over too many little words. If those ‘Moms’ are easily fooled by that ‘request’ they have truly been are two year old far too long. Lighten up and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  • Tom November 6, 2015, 10:23 am

    I just got home from a morning meeting with a group from my church. We meet at a local Panera ‘s for fellowship and bible study. I have been going to this same shop for a while. I have spoken to the manager several times and have had a few nice conversations with her on firearms. She has NO problem with guns in her Panera store. The company statement is just to shut up the Mom’s and antigunner groups. If it was a problem, anywhere, all the proper signage would be up. I don’t stop going to stores just because a company policy comes out. If the proper sign isn’t up, I’m shopping there,however if they don’t want my business then the proper signs are up and I will respect their wishes. Notice I said proper signage? I will carry when I see a notice (not correct/lawful) sign and what can they do but ask me to leave. No problem. Word of mouth advertising can cost a company alot of business. Oh the Panera manager, I also shoot with her at the range. She carries everyday,everywhere.
    If you see that whatever company puts out a statement, but doesn’t follow with signs, guys it’s just to shut up the anti bunch.
    Have a great day.

  • Spydersniper November 2, 2015, 6:06 pm

    I don’t go to stores that aren’t safe. Criminals know that too. They don’t need my or my friends business, i don’t need their product. And there are plenty other businesses that want our business that quality is at least equal. I don’t agree with carrying long rifles, or shotguns. And nobody is carrying assault rifles into stores. Assault type weapons maybe. Size wise, my state allows concealed weapons no longer than 10 inches. That allows for 6 inch barreled revolvers and full sized auto’s. Any thing longer than that is over kill, but that is my opinion.It’s not concealed any more. And it’s pretty easy to disarm a man with a rifle. I’m sorry for the businesses that don’t want us in, but there are plenty more that appreciate us.

  • Parabellum July 27, 2015, 10:43 pm

    Sprouts (a grocery store I shopped at while in Denver) put a sign on the doors of their Aurora store after the nearby theater shooting. After I brought it to their attention that the theater had a similar sign on their doors, and also contacted their corporate hq in Arizona, the signs came down. No one I spoke to could explain how that foolishness made anyone safer. I guess when confronted by logic, even people with retarded amygdalas see the light once in a while.

  • carlito September 23, 2014, 9:40 pm

    ANYONE EVER VETTED THESE LONG GUN CARRIERS TO SEE IF THEY ARE BLOOMBERGS STOOLIES TO CREATE THE VERY HYSTERIA HE HAS A SOLUTION FOR?

  • DC September 17, 2014, 11:15 am

    People need to stop taking long guns in public it’s hurting the rest of us with ccp’s all they’re doing is scarring everyone into being anti gun wen there’s no reason to be they’re making it look like all of us that carry legally are crazy people wen in fact wer are the only ones that stand in between the time u call 911 and the time they actually arrive they are just feeding the fire they are gonna ruin it for the rest of us!

  • Fred Fickelson September 15, 2014, 6:51 pm

    Only moms and sissified men eat there so who cares. Oh, and the fat pigs camped out with there laptops siphoning off the free wifi.

    • Ken September 15, 2014, 11:11 pm

      My feelings exactly!! I don’t eat there now and certainly will not in the future. The bigger issue here is the pr war
      Shannon Watts is waging very effectively against the 2nd Amendment and legal, responsible ccw. The media pours
      gasoline on the fire, more big chains are then more comfortable banning ccw. School children are being indoctrinated
      that guns and gun owners are bad, with the hopes of raising a new generation of anti gunners. Everyone who supports
      the 2nd Amendment needs to not spend their $$ where they are not welcome. And teach your children safe, responsible
      gun ownership and handling. We must win this war now or our children will not enjoy the right of ccw.

  • Mac September 15, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation. Are we still in America ????????

    • Russ September 17, 2014, 12:41 pm

      Don’t you just hate that.
      It causes me to double post at times.

  • Mac September 15, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Not to worry….. Won’t buy anything from your stores….

  • BRASS September 15, 2014, 4:34 pm

    My family has patronized Panera Bread many times but no longer will. We obey the law and will honor their request by not crossing their threshold again. Given the choice of voluntarily disarming or patronizing an establishment that honors the Constitution, I will always choose the latter. Panera Bread has the right to ban firearms from their premises and I have the right to patronize others who don’t. Easy enough.

  • Ken H September 15, 2014, 4:18 pm

    I my wife and employees have agreed that we will not give any more business to Panera. They have lost some dedicated customers. We also spread the word to other conceal carry friends. Does Panera not understand (or care) that some customers may be carrying, but most of the others don’t know or care if they are or not. Their actions will not stop the illegal carry by non-licensed customers who are the real danger.

  • Jake September 15, 2014, 3:40 pm

    I will continue to legally carry concealed and I won’t hesitate to enter Panera WITH my handgun concealed on my person. They don’t give a crap or else they would post signs. Same thing with Target. If I quit patronizing every establishment that caved in to pressure from these dumb groups, then I would be very limited in the places that I could visit. Yes they are being pussies but it’s all about their bottom line and I can understand that sometimes business decisions are made that don’t support your true values. If I were the CEO of Panera, I would post signs stating LEGALLY CONCEALED HANDGUNS ARE WELCOMED but at the same time I would be discouraging open carry. These open-carry guys are just asking for trouble. If someone entered my office with an AR15, he would find the business end of my 9mm pointed directly at his face.

  • Jim Zoppi September 15, 2014, 1:21 pm

    We can leave our money outside your door also !

  • GSKey September 15, 2014, 12:44 pm

    I don’t give a damn if they have a sign up or not. I carry concealed legally and the only one who knows if I am armed or not is me. If I do have to resort to using the weapon (God forbid) to protect myself, family, friends or Panera employees then Panera can attempt to sue me. Good luck with that. All that being said, I will probably not frequent Panera in the future.

  • Albaby September 15, 2014, 12:24 pm

    If you carry concealed, no one would know the difference. I think these responses are due to open carry advocates who feel they have to show their pistols or visibly carry their Ar-15’s in public . I am an NRA member, and belong to a few other pro-gun organizations but I don’t feel we should fan the flames by flaunting our guns. No good can come of it. I have to wonder which side of the debate the open carry people are on.

    • albaby September 15, 2014, 12:30 pm

      Isn’t moderating comments like moderating the Second Amendment?

  • Pete September 15, 2014, 11:36 am

    I agree that the 2nd Amendment is a right, not to be infringed, but why provoke anyone by openly carrying a long gun seems ludicrous to me. Those of us that are CCW were taught not to instigate but rather try to escape trouble if at all possible even Stand your Ground is your last option legally In other words, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I love Panera bear claws, too bad I’ve had my last one.

  • Dale September 15, 2014, 11:32 am

    I have shop many different Kroger and I have never ever seen a person carrying a long gun. I have a feeling it is something the anti gunners have made up. For any store that wants to ban guns in there place I say you won’t even know if I am carrying or not, some places won’t go to others I will but either way they won’t be able to tell if I am carrying be cause it will be concealed and that will be leagal. Out of sight out of mind.

  • dink winkerson September 15, 2014, 10:56 am

    It looked to me as if it was a request, not a demand.

  • Duncan September 15, 2014, 10:45 am

    After Chipotle announced their “No gun policy” I asked the manager of my local one if that included lawful concealed carry. I was told it did not, they just did not want anyone to open carry. If I go to my local Panera, I will ask the same question. I will bet they have the same policy.

  • Gene September 15, 2014, 10:42 am

    I suggest that people who respect the Constitution and the 2nd amendment as a RIGHT, stop patronizing Panera!

    • a September 15, 2014, 12:28 pm

      If you carry concealed, how would they know you are carrying unless you are compelled to show them you own a gun.

  • John September 15, 2014, 10:42 am

    Panera Bread, all I have to say is that you are creating a “GUN FREE ZONE” which to the criminal mind creates a safe environment for them to operate (i.e., Robbery, Holdup)! Your limp-wristed approach is lame and dangerous to us who are authorized by law to carry their weapons to protect themselves and others in a situation where criminals would ravage your customers like wolves do to sheep!

  • Uncle Al September 15, 2014, 9:53 am

    Open carry laws are important. Without them, during a natural disaster like hurricane Katrina, you could be arrested for simply trying to protect your property or business. But I can’t for the life of me understand why people want to carry an AR15, AK47 or SKS into Krogers or Panera Bread. If self-protection is their aim, wouldn’t they be better served by concealed carry of a handgun? The visual of seeing a rifle slung over the back of a grocery shopper is unnerving to non-gun people. I believe it supports the gun control crowd propaganda, even though that non-gun shopper should realize that in CCDW States, it’s possible that every shopper in the store could be carrying a legal concealed weapon. (Ever see the YouTube video where the woman shopper drops a light bulb that explodes causing every other store patron to pull out their concealed handgun?) Do what is right, not what you have a right to do. If I want protection, I carry concealed. If I want to send a message, I carry a sign.

    • William September 15, 2014, 1:30 pm

      As a disabled combat Marine, and CCP holder for 40+ years, I completely agree. Honey/vinegar, and all that. To be honest, I’M a little unnerved to see a person with a semi-automatic rifle over their shoulder, even during hunting season. Flame away, but deep down some of you out there probably agree as well. As mentioned, in todays environment what is lawful today, can EASILY become UNlawful tomorrow.
      Semper Fi

  • Larry September 15, 2014, 9:27 am

    I vote with my dollars. Looks like Panera Bread have succumb to Bloomberg and the other idiots. So I will not spend any more money with these stores who have allowed the extreme left control their destiny. I would urge others to do the same. Usually these are the same people that immediately call for the police for any reason and berate you when you are not there within a few minutes after they call.

  • Tim September 15, 2014, 9:24 am

    Nobody I know has X-ray vision. Kind of like don’t ask don’t tell.

  • Jeff Roskie September 15, 2014, 9:21 am

    Another “We don’t want to upset anyone!” That is the same reason why I will not patronize Pizza Hut, and now, Panera! Like I told Pizza Hut in a letter to them, “They should welcome us with CCW permits with arms wide open! We’ve gone through the training and background checks. It’s the ones that have not done so that ANY establishment should being worrying about!”
    Their reply was about the same as Panera, “We don’t want to upset anyone.” But, if it true Conceal and Carry, no one would know! That’s what Conceal Carry is!

  • Goose September 15, 2014, 9:12 am

    These mothers are the ones that raise these kids that shoot up schools.It’s this ignorance and lack of education , once again that promotes the very thing they want to quell. You can’t fix stupid!

  • T. Jefferson September 15, 2014, 9:05 am

    Hey Panera! Love your store, never going to buy from you again.

  • Lars September 15, 2014, 9:02 am

    Boycott the fidiots at Panera. Perhaps a criminal will see this and decide to rob a Panera store. What will those patrons say when that happens? They’ll be screaming for protection, of course, which -could- have been provided by any one of the concealed carry patrons on that day, if it weren’t for the ban. Seriously, I’m surprised that more coffee shops aren’t robbed, given that they can take several thousand dollars an hour into their tills. I guess the meth heads don’t think much of coffee. 😉

  • Keith Brockmiller September 15, 2014, 8:42 am

    It is my right to carry, and to choose who I do business with. I also don’t feel comfortable without the means to protect myself and my loved ones. I choose to not do business with Panera as long as they comply with the anti gun nuts. Too bad, the missus and I like their bread.

  • Randall Stewart September 15, 2014, 8:40 am

    I am a gun owner,shooter,when I can afford it,but if I take a gun in a store it is & will always be concealed[CCP]!I can not see why these people openly carry short & long gun’s into a store!People see other people openly armed they naturally get nervous!Remember because it is a law today[open carry]does not mean it can not be changed if enough people are around people openly carrying firearms!This is just my opinion,I would not even if legal,I would think of other people’s uneasyness and also the bussiness that may be lost because people decide not to come back and be uneasy looking at gun’s because it is not really the gun but the person carrying that would make me uneasy!Just my 2 cents!

  • Larry September 15, 2014, 8:14 am

    I will leave my weapons at home as long as these stores can guarantee me that their parking lots will be safe until then I will not use these stores.

  • Melvin Peterman September 15, 2014, 7:37 am

    Quote: “We won’t put our café management in the position of being law enforcement.” How could they possibly be enforcing the law by confronting someone who is licensed to carry?
    If I would choose to enter a Panera Bread shop (which I now won’t), and I was carrying, I would not consider myself a threat, just the opposite. Why can’t these people understand that those of us that legally carry are not the bad guys? Why can’ty they grasp the fact that the bad guys don’t care what their policy/philosophy is, the bad guy just comes in with his gun and wreaks havoc. And now they don’t want a good guy with a gun to be there to help protect them?

    • Brian Fauver September 16, 2014, 8:03 am

      This is the truth if they believe this will stop bad people from bringing a gun in there and robbing them or worst they are sorely mistaken.

  • Dale September 15, 2014, 6:23 am

    And if some of these mom’s were in with their kids and a person walked in intending to do harm would they still want the guns left at home or would they be thankful someone didn’t and kept them and their kids from being killed

    • Ruppert Jenkins September 15, 2014, 12:07 pm

      Shame on you, Panera. I’ve been patronizing two Panera stores in Carlsbad CA for awhile.
      But, with these new anti-gun rules, I will never go in a Panera again.

  • Otto Schiff September 15, 2014, 5:57 am

    There are two types of gun owners, those who are responsible and those who are not.
    It is sometimes hard to tell the difference.

    • Roy Rutledge September 15, 2014, 7:49 am

      There are two types of politicians, those who are responsible and those who are not.
      It is sometimes Very hard to tell the difference.

      • Russ September 16, 2014, 5:07 pm

        It’s EZ to tell them apart.
        It’s the bad politicians that set up these bad, so called gun owners to make a scene for the socialist media.

    • Russ September 16, 2014, 5:05 pm

      It’s EZ to tell them apart.
      It’s the bad politicians that set up these bad, so called gun owners to make a scene for the socialist media.

  • Dr. David Stadler September 15, 2014, 5:33 am

    No, I will continue to legally carry, and stop patronizing Panera!

    • J Wright September 15, 2014, 8:50 am

      No need to stop patronizing them. They chose to not to post signs stating “No Guns Allowed”. If local law allows carrying concealed then they are not going to prevent your entry with a posted sign or by asking you to vacate the premises.

    • Russ September 16, 2014, 3:08 am

      Exactly!
      They don’t need my business, I’ll stay clear of that bread hole.
      I will comply with their request to leave my gun at home as well.
      My guns home is in my pants and none of their business anyway.

  • S. Delgadillo September 15, 2014, 5:29 am

    Concerning Panera Bread’s request not to bring guns onto their property. I am an advocate for the 2nd amendment but I fully agree with their decision. It is private property and they have a right to make rules of conduct on their property. This is what America is about, freedom of choice. I elect to (legally) carry a gun on my property and on public property and I don’t expect anyone to say that I cannot.

    • G. Smith September 15, 2014, 8:21 am

      Good comment. Says it all.

    • Sal September 15, 2014, 8:30 am

      Yes, I agree. They have to right to set policy and we have the right not to spend money there.

      • Art September 15, 2014, 10:05 am

        And I will not go there.

    • Jack September 15, 2014, 9:16 am

      I agree, but when THIS is in the article,

      Shaich emphasized that he didn’t want Panera to become a battleground for advocates on either side of the issue.
      “I think what we feel is we’re trying to be RESPECTFUL OF PEOPLE’S RIGHTS while at the same time ensuring that Panera isn’t the battleground for political statement,” said Shaich.

      I have to think that the 2nd amendment is a RIGHT. some group called MOM’s DEMANDING ACTION is not preserving rights. They are looking to remove rights, that quite frankly, are not given by the government, the rights outlined in the Constitution of this land are natural rights.
      Sorry Panera, I don’t accept bullshit as an answer. as a customer that supported your shop in the past with employee gathering nearly weekly, kiss that goodbye.

    • william w Hadden September 15, 2014, 2:06 pm

      Panera bread has been a favorite of mine until now after cowering to these responsible asses I will no longer visit Panera Bread or any business folding to nonsense.

    • Chuck Troupe September 15, 2014, 4:42 pm

      I agree about private property, however, a store, a restaurant (and the like) are places of public access and not really the same is a person’s home. However, I would never openly carry into such an establishment. But neither will I EVER be a victim in such a place. I am fortunate to live in Arizona where the liberal gun phobia mentality has not yet trampled on the 2nd amendment … which is MY permit! But when and if it ever does, I will still carry my side arm and nobody will ever know I have it … unless one of their beloved criminals tries to make me his victim.

  • Michael E. Hensley September 15, 2014, 4:17 am

    Target does the same, No sign on doors.
    I talked to the Target Corp. and they basically said it was done to ” shut up the anti-gunners ” nothing more.

    • John L September 15, 2014, 8:55 am

      I agree. This is a loophole for businesses to try and stay neutral. Arizona has right to carry written into the original state constitution. A business must post a no firearms sign, and then must take responsibility and safeguard said firearm until you leave. The loophole for a business is to simply not post proper signage. They can then wash their hands of any need to enforce that policy.

      • Chuck Troupe September 15, 2014, 4:31 pm

        When such signs are posted it is basically an open invitation to armed criminals … letting them know that they can enter the premises and have no worry or concern about armed resistance. “Come On In! Rob Us! Rape Us! Kill Us! We Are Only Concerned About YOUR Safety!” The Moms For … group’s “moms” are controlled by Michael Bloomberg and other men like him who sit down to pee.

    • Doc September 15, 2014, 4:05 pm

      My mother once said “Polite is what makes OTHER people feel comfortable.” If I want that right for myself, I have to give that right to others. I do not believe it is polite to carry a long-arm in public. Unless you have a specific place to go or reason — eg, to a range, gun shop a few blocks away. I have a CCW, and if carried correctly, no one should EVER know I am armed. If they do, then MY carry technique is wrong. I was once asked by a woman in a pizza parlor to put my firearm in my vehicle. I showed the waitress my CCW, the patron said her child was scared, (my vest had moved up when I sat down, exposing my sidearm.) **I** was being rude, I scared her child — so I left the building, and rather than unlock my vehicles (keys were at table) I simply moved the firearm closer to the center of my back, (full sized Sig P-220) and made CERTAIN that my vest covered the firearm when I sat back down No harm, no foul. The mother was happy, the child was not scared, I made not a ruffle other than show my CCW and move outside where I re-arranged my holster and re-entered the pizza parlor. Yes the mother DID eye me closely, she did not see the sidearm as she should NEVER have been able to see it; she was happy. I was happy, he Waitress was happy, the manage was happy – everyone was happy, and I was still armed. Had I had my keys I MAY have left it in the truck, or I may not have. I didn’t have them so it was not a question.

      Personally I DO have a problem with long-arms in public. They are too powerful, backgrounds are seldom ‘clear’ and ‘Johnny the DM’ I don’t trust to shoot worth crap under pressure. And if he DOES get that take his .50 BMG and put a round in a suspects car — I would hold his responsible for reckless engagement as well as any ‘co-lateral’ damage he might cause. I’m an OK shot. The shot I will NEVER take is the hostage with bad-guy with pistol to hostages’ head. Yep, even 10 feet away, if someone is on the far side, my Sig 9mm or Sig .45acp does NOT have a clear background. Let alone a .223, .308, or .30-06 – a round that opens up on the far side of exit, and buries itself two walls think 30 yards away, is NOT a ‘street round’. I had a gunsmithing student build me a .45-70 five-round revolver as part of his ‘final project’. I would NEVER carry that or send a round down-rage from that puppy while on a sidewalk or public place. Why? Because I’s not polite to turn up Unannounced in someones kitchen a block away, or even across the street. My mother taught me not to be booish, and to respect others: Polite is what makes other comfortable. Yes, there are a million what-ifs. I’ve had a CCW for more than 20 years, and except for a VERY few encounters with the same student in the middle of the Northern Nevada dessert, I’ve NEVER had to pull it. Shot-guns a couple of times, my Marlin .45-70 a few times when I’ve seen a bear cross the road of a rancher I like and have offered to help look for it but very few times. If someone sees my CCW, it’s lost it’s purpose. ***I’ve*** blown it. The idea is for YOU to not know I am armed. NOT for you to KNOW that I am.

      • John Venter September 16, 2014, 6:50 am

        Very well stated.

    • Scott September 18, 2014, 11:06 pm

      “‘I think what we feel is we’re trying to be respectful of people’s rights while at the same time ensuring that Panera isn’t the battleground for political statement,’ said Shaich.”

      “What we FEEL…” Yes, it’s all about feelings, not facts.

      His stance IS a political statement–guns and gun rights get checked on the way into his store. Not that I’d patronize Panera ever again. Which is not a political statement, Ron; it’s just that I don’t like being a helpless target. The old switcheroo: We respect your rights BUT…{we don’t respect your rights}. He has a stance on the issue but not the spine to state it.

      What this ignorant CEO is doing is encouraging his stores to become battlegrounds–or rather killing grounds–not for “political statements” but for gun-wielding thugs. Someone should introduce Shaich to recent newspaper stories about disarmed people in schools and theatres who FELT safe but died anyhow. But at least they didn’t die from political statements.

      Have we entirely lost the ability to reason?

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