Waffle House Tells Uniformed Soldier to Leave Gun Outside Restaurant. He Refused.

Billy Welch just wanted to grab a bite to eat at the local Waffle House in Nicholasville, Kentucky, over the weekend.

But when Welch, a soldier with the National Guard, went into the restaurant dressed in his uniform with his gun on his hip, managers asked the young man to take the firearm outside.

“I got up and I walked over to them, asked them how they were doing and stuff, and they said I’d have to take my firearm outside,” said Welch in an interview with Lex18.com. “I don’t feel comfortable taking my firearm away from me. I always keep it with me and they said, ‘it’s one of our policies.’”

Welch decided that he didn’t want to eat in a gun-free zone and told the waitress that he was going to leave.

“You know, if I can’t have my firearm, then I can’t be here,” said Welch. “I walked inside to the other waitress. I said, ‘thank you, but no thank you ma’am. I’m gonna have to leave.'”

Waffle House patron Micaela Shaw saw the exchange and was troubled by the fact that Welch was not allowed to be in the restaurant with his sidearm.

“I have a bunch of family members and friends who have been active military and in the military and retired and it hurts my feelings when people disrespect them,” said Shaw, who was sitting in a booth nearby. “I just wanted to stand up for him.”

Meanwhile, the Nicholasville Waffle House released a statement iterating its policy on firearms, “For many years we have had a “No Firearms” policy in place in our restaurants. We continue to believe this is the best policy for the safety of our customers and associates.”

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Hugh October 10, 2015, 7:52 pm

    Oldawg is right. My state, along with many others, doesn’t allow open carry (yet). I have a CCW, so no one knows (they’re not supposed to), but I pay no attention to those annoying signs (except if posted at Federal or State properties). However, I won’t bother going to WH again, and I “used to be” a great customer. But, alas, what short memories some folks have. Does the name Lubys Restaurant ring a bell for anyone? If you were to ask any surviving customers, or management & workers from that terrible incident if they wish there had been someone there “carrying” (other than the murdering shooter), what do you think they would say? That’s one of the main reasons I spent the money, time and aggravation to get my carry permit, along with the funding of, and the time and expense for the training, for my wife, son, and sister-in-law to all get theirs. Now, when we go out, together or separately, anyone trying an act like the Lubys incident will be in for a very short, and very unpleasant surprise. Wonder if a “No Guns Allowed” sign would have stopped that crazy SOB? Doubtful!
    I understand that this particular individual had a short history of rambunctiousness at this establishment, so I understand their not wanting him (as an individual), coming in armed. However, a corporate policy of no guns allowed makes no sense, and has already caused a loss of business. I just hope it doesn’t cause a loss of life.
    Same goes for shopping centers, and many other places that have been in the headlines in the past. With radical islamists trying to kill us all, I like to think that at least I may be able to shoot back. then, I would at least be able to “get some” I could take with me, even if I was outnumbered, ’cause I prefer to go down trying, not crying.
    Finally, let’s think about our biggest target-rich environments; churches and schools. I think more people would be alive today, out of those who have died in those terrible incidents we all remember, if more students and faculty (and yes, even parishioners, in the House of God), were armed. We better get smart quick, and properly defend our public school kids with properly armed and trained security, because I can see a lot of heartbreak ahead, if we don’t.
    That’s what I think.

  • Oldawg October 9, 2015, 4:16 am

    I don’t understand all the complaining about “gun free zones”. Carry concealed wherever you want to go. If you need it, you got it. If you don’t need it, no one is the wiser. At worst, if it happens to be seen, all they can do is ask you to leave. Big deal! Of course there a few places where you won’t get past the metal detector, such as certain zones in airports, courthouses, etc. Otherwise, screw the signs!

    • Nunya Beeznas March 4, 2016, 2:00 pm

      The typical Soldier is not allowed to carry concealed while in uniform.

  • JOHN October 7, 2015, 4:20 pm

    IN the Past when America was great . A lot of waffle houses would have bought his meal.

  • Just Jim October 6, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Have lived carrying a sidearm daily for the past thirty years, the last 27 behind a badge. And for all those years, on duty or off, I have never been asked to leave Any establishment due to being armed. I am sworn to uphold the laws of my Country and my State, and have satisfied the authorities that I am Qualified to do so. My Uniform and Badge make me a Target wherever I go. If the SHTF, I am the first one the Bad Guy will try to take out. I do this willingly to Protect and Serve. If some ill informed business decides that they do not want my patronage, that is their right. But I don’t have the discretion to decide if I would rather not assist the citizen in need. That description is all I need to do my duty. He may or may not deserve my assistance, that is not my call. If this business, or Any establishment, decide that they do not wish to have firearms on their property, that may be their right. Too bad for me that I don’t get to decide who will or will not get my help. But I certainly get to decide if they deserve my patronage, now or in future, and I will definately do my best to inform my friends and associates of their shortsighted decision. I carry off duty, therefore I will not eat there. And Anyone else who would has my sympathy. Why would any potential miscreant decide to attack a guarded flock, when there is a perfectly vulnerable flock inviting his attentions, available for the fleecing (or whatever his perversion of choice is)? I wish common sense were more common. I wish career Polititions would find gainful employment. I wish voting them out of office was the First and Best Duty of the Voters. Don’t Vote for the Troll!

  • Ben October 6, 2015, 12:06 am

    They say they have a No Firearms Policy?
    I’m confused. They tell police officers to leave their firearms outside?

  • Larry October 5, 2015, 11:34 pm

    (I’m the other Larry) It seems like the Waffle House wants all free kill zones inside their establishments. That’s fine by me as I will not ever stop there to eat again.

  • law dawg October 5, 2015, 9:06 pm

    No gun zone …hmm. Well it seems to me that the soldier did the best thing he could do which was to leave. No gun zones are nothing but advertisiments to insane people to have a free for all in s self-righteous community run by uninformed people. It’s really sad that we have an individual like obama pretending to be a president who is totally ignorant to the situations involving criminal who use guns to or during their crimes. In all these incidents where dumbasses shot multiple people rs one had an existing history of some type of mental, anger, or anti- establish ment issue. And those who knew them and or their problems or agendas never reported anything to the proper authorities. Then when these lunatics go off we have knee jerk reactions by idiots like obama who’s only agenda is to pretend he’s concerned but in reality could careless what happens ad long as it doesn’t affect him…… Anyway, it’s been too long for obsma’s time in the white house. His lease is up and it’s time for him to put his black and white suiy on ss he crosses the cell gate in prison where he really belongs with those animals that commit the atrocities they do because of a self serving agenda. Is there? A possibility the government is behind these incidents… It’s interesting that most of them commit suicide after the dirty deed… GOD bless those families that lost their loved ones….. Folks, as said many times before guns don’t kill people do. They use a gun just like a bst, knife, car, brick, hammer.. etc to do the crime…… Liberals, progressives, or what or they may be WAKE THE …. ..

    • Rick June 29, 2018, 12:40 pm

      Try to use spell check or a similar spelling software program before you publish your rantings……unless you want to continue to look like an inbred uneducated idiot .

  • christopher yurdiga October 5, 2015, 5:56 pm

    I own guns but dont carry at the local flapjack house. Its the owners right not to let people carry. He’s not police.

    • Joe June 30, 2018, 10:20 am

      That makes you a sitting duck every time you patronize the place due to an ignorant restaurant policy by ignorant management. True, it is their right to be ignorant but it’s also my right not to be.

  • Bob Coveney October 5, 2015, 4:45 pm

    That is the Waffle House corporate policy. They own the property and it is their right to make that determination. On the other hand my safety and that of my family is important enough to me that I would never willingly disarm and place my life in jeopardy for the sake of a waffle. They are delusional if they think that makes them or their customers “safer”. But it is very easy to not be impacted by their ignorant thought process – just stay away from Waffle House. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am boycotting them. But the fact is that I try to avoid locations that advertise to the criminal element that “Here is a victim rich environment”. Gun on your hip or not – it is better to avoid such locations. Shrug your shoulders and move on – it is far too frustrating trying to reason with corporate stupidity.

  • michael blanton October 5, 2015, 4:41 pm

    What an excellent example of a professional soldier and a responsible American. Calm, respectful and professional without compromising his standards or rights. Simply take his hard earned money to a different establishment that will appreciate the fact that a guardian of freedom is in their store. Thanks to him for his service and for the example that he has set.

  • Kalashnikov Dude October 5, 2015, 4:24 pm

    “No gun” policies only work with decent, law abiding individuals. They sure as hell do not keep people safe from those who would harm them using a gun. Can you imagine what a sick lunatic bent on killing off as many people in say, a waffle house, till the cops come and kill him, would do if the manager approached him saying he must take his gun outside? Instantaneous compliance probably isn’t in that guys vocabulary. But a soldier, or just an individual exercising his or her 2nd Amendment rights is bound by law and common decency. They must comply, and they always do. I have. But it’s a rare instance that I continue my patronage of institutions which enforce this policy. This is exactly why I no longer shop at Costco, Good Will, Habitat For Humanity, or Salvation Army stores along with a host of local eateries and other establishments where I live. It’s not a hate thing. It’s simply economics and in some cases, well earned resentment over hypocrisy, and inconvenience. I can’t support an outfit that doesn’t support me, my well being, and my rights as a citizen of the United States. No gun policies, proposed anti-2nd Amendment legislation, in fact, the vast majority of current laws are way out of line with what some like to call “common sense”. Because they have no effect on the violence we were promised these laws would stop or at least slow down. Ten years of chopping off bayonet lugs, rearranging grips, triggers, welding muzzle devices in place or eliminating them altogether, creating more costly hurdles for imports, had the effect of zero impact on gun violence in America, even a rise in some areas heavily burdened with left wing zealots masquerading as public servants. Chicago, New York, LA, and assorted other would be metropolitan socialist Utopian societies across this nation. So here’s how it is. I have a no gun policy. On my property, in my home, I have a no gun policy in place, as this is my right. My policy states that I am the only one with irrevocable gun rights. Everyone else is subject to immediate removal of themselves and their weapons, not just guns, on my discretion. Family and friends are always respected. Police, government, or private corporate types must leave theirs in the car before they enter. No exceptions. so there’s that. Also, everyone must knock and it is preferable to call before coming by. All are forewarned with prominently posted signage. Folks can’t be too careful these days. That’s me. Careful.

    • Michael October 6, 2015, 3:06 am

      I don’t know what he was doing with a sidearm anyway, especially in uniform and at a civilian restaurant. I can’t ever remember a time when I was in the 82nd Airborne Division where any of my fellow soldiers would think it’s ok or be allowed to by higher up to go off post with a weapon. Especially to go eat at a restaurant, that guy is nuts and so is his command if they told him or let him do something like that.

      • Kalashnikov Dude October 6, 2015, 4:47 pm

        As far as my comment above, the logic applies for all, not just military. For military, I have never served, so I do not pretend to understand the intricacies of regulation regarding firearms of any branch. However, common sense and history tells us that the men and women of our armed forces are most definitely targets in country and elsewhere, on base or off. This being an undeniable fact, they should all be armed at almost all times including off base at lunch or at recruiting stations. Certainly a side arm, but rifles ought to be nearby and at the ready. That’s what the military is for. That’s what guns are for. To protect us from people foreign or domestic who would harm us. Individually, or as a nation. Whoever says differently has no business making policy for anybody, let alone American citizens, or the branches of military who are made up largely of citizens. They should stay home, lock their doors and windows, and cringe at the sound of a back fire while the rest of us enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, all under the examples set forth by our Bill Of Rights and US Constitution. The market should be deciding whether someone want’s to eat a waffle next to our finest young men and women in uniform who happen to have a side arm. Not some dipshit in suit and tie who is incapable of thinking past some ridiculous liability lawsuit. There are experts on these matters, but we can’t consult them anymore. They’re dead because the above mentioned dipshit got his way. Disarming people is not how this country became great. It became great when we were a nation of marksmen. Exactly what our 2nd Amendment was designed and intended to do. The Bill Of Rights, and the US Constitution do not go away because some judge, a lawyer, or a politician says these documents don’t really mean to say what is clearly written in them. But it is up to us to respect what made us so great as a nation and stand up for it, against fools and liars interested in their own agendas. Stand up and be counted Micheal. Stand up for real “common sense”. Be part of the solution. I am, and I will always.

  • Gordon October 5, 2015, 4:14 pm

    I’ve no problem with someone being asked to leave if they’re a packing a gun and the restaurant states “no gun’s allowed”… its far to easy for anyone to pick-up army fatigues and to masquerade as soldier, hence being in uniform doesn’t mean squat! Our company has a similar policy, and if Billy wants to make a personal statement by not eating at the Wafflehouse, then that’s fine by me, I’ll continue my patronage as long as the meals are hot and taste-good! As for the right-wing nut-jobs that demand free-access to their guns anytime/where, and whee if you disagree with them that you can leave this country… I’d say you’re the one that needs to leave, as all you do is create hostility and animosity towards the rest of us gun-owners who respect others rights! Gordon

    • DC October 7, 2015, 11:01 am

      Wow very surprising your posting that on this of all sites lol

  • Charles October 5, 2015, 3:40 pm

    Don’t know all the facts here,,don’t see many military folks carrying off base. But a quick question. Does WH no gun policy include police also? Just saying..no gun is no gun..no matter who you are. This guy just may be a trouble maker….and trying to get even with the establishment

  • Otis October 5, 2015, 3:13 pm

    Jay, Jake, whatever you whish to refer to yourself as,
    What part of “For many years we have had a “No Firearms” police in place in our restaurants. We continue to believe this is the best policy for the safety of our customers and associates.” not understand?

    “Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side.” Nehemiah 4:18

  • Larry October 5, 2015, 2:40 pm

    Let’s see if this would work, you have a soldier inside eating breakfast while while you have a criminal outside taking aim through the big pictures windows. the Waffle Policy sound like a bunch of crap if you ask me, you will never have to worry about me eating at a Waffle House again.

    • Kenny Smith September 5, 2016, 7:09 am

      I agree, I will never eat at another Waffle House again, Military ,Security and Law Enforcement Officers all carry for their protection and I do also, so If that’s their stance on the subject , I am sticking to mine.

  • Steve October 5, 2015, 5:27 am

    I lived in Chicago area when a Browns chicken was robbed. Five employees were marched into the cooler and shot. I would lose no sleep for not giving my business to a busines with a no gun policy. Your a target or not. A sheep or a sheepdog is the best way i have heard it explained. The military teaches you to take control of the situation you are in if needed. No gun business policy makes no scense to me.

  • Jake September 30, 2015, 11:33 pm

    There’s a lot more to this story that’s not being shared. Specifically how is Welch in uniform wearing a side arm? All branches have very strict rules of what your can and can not do while in uniform when you’re off base. Second, Waffle House has released a statement detailing all of the physical altercations Welch has been a part of involving police intervention that has happened at that location in the past. I encourage everyone to seek the facts before jumping to conclusions. Listen but verify.

    • J.M. Taylor October 5, 2015, 9:00 pm

      Was this a Service Issued Firearm? or Personal?
      Was he in a Duty Status that required him to be armed or traveling to/from duty?
      Service Members are not permitted to carry personal firearm while in uniform (whether you agree with the policy or not, it is a lawful order).
      Very questionable facts all around.

      MSgt, USAF GA ANG (Ret)

  • jay September 30, 2015, 8:21 pm

    this story leaves a few things out. mr. welch had recently been ejected from this same restaurant as a result of a brawl he initiated that was broken up by two off duty police officers. it was 2:00 a.m. and he was the only patron in the restaurant. this gentleman apparently has a history of inappropriate behavior, including unnecessary violence. don’t be too quick to judge waffle house. the safety of the employees is a wholly appropriate consideration, especially considering the individual’s history.
    not everyone who wears a uniform is necessarily a hero.

  • DRAINO September 30, 2015, 2:43 pm

    Hmm…Don’t think that’s the case at the Waffle Houses here around where I live in GA. But I would and DO definitely boy-cot any restaurant that has a no-guns policy. Yes, they have the right to make that policy…..but I have the right to not give them my business. Someone recently said that I was stupid for doing so, and asked why I have to hate people who don’t like guns. I said I don’t hate them, but I’m not likely to be friends with someone who takes issue with my 2A rights and me protecting my self, my family and my community with a gun if necessary. If you don’t like it….LEAVE THIS COUNTRY!!!

    • target October 5, 2015, 6:18 am

      Sir, with all respects, when you say “If you don’t like it…. LEAVE THIS COUNTRY!!!”, what you are saying is you don’t believe in democracy. We are a pluralistic society, it is what gives us strength, we have to be able to live with folks with other opinions, and other points of view. Best.

      • gonzo gonzales October 5, 2015, 4:50 pm

        As with so many others, you evidently find it easier to have others protect you than vice-versa.
        but that’s okay – –
        just remember this incident when they come to take you away for whatever reason they wish – – and it can, and will, – happen
        read the history of Germany in the 1920-1930’s

        “I didn’t speak up for the Jews, because I’m not Jewish;
        I didn’t defend the homosexuals because I’m heterosexual;
        I didn’t denounce the Nazis for their tactics – –
        now they’re coming for me and there is no one left to speak up for me.”
        Less than 20% of the German people were Nazis – –
        and look at what they did.

        • Blasted Cap October 5, 2015, 7:03 pm

          His screen name says it all.

        • Kelly Lee October 5, 2015, 8:01 pm

          Way to jump to an erroneous conclusion, Gonzo. Target never said, nor even hinted, that was his position.

      • Predatorzr October 5, 2015, 5:49 pm

        I’m sorry to inform you the United States is NOT a Democracy. It is designed by its constitution as a republic of law. The laws determine what is legal and not. It has nothing to do with a majority of people deciding on each issue. Otherwise each business would decide what laws they wanted to follow and what laws they don’t based on a majority of the people who frequent it. Could you imagine if a business decided to post a sign that said ” No Freedom of Speech Allowed inside” so its Ok to take away second amendment right but not first amendment rights?

      • george October 5, 2015, 9:33 pm

        With all due respect we are a representative republic not a democracy. Democracy is 3 wolves and a sheep deciding whats for dinner.

  • Slim September 30, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Somebody post a customer complaint link to Waffle House.

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