A Kansas restaurant chain is getting applause and a bit of negative feedback for their pro-gun policy. The comments come after they updated their Facebook page with a picture of their guns welcome sign.
The Riverside Cafe quickly garnered hundreds of comments and over 1,000 reactions following their post. The Wichita company is getting a lot of new customers for their efforts, but some people say they’ll never come back.
Ironically, the restaurants have had the signs up for more than a decade. It wasn’t until they shared the image that people took note.
“I travel to Wichita twice a month and will patronize your restaurant whenever I’m in town,” said one customer.
“Thank you! We have never been to Riverside Cafe but after seeing this, I think we shall try it out,” reads another comment. “I’ve heard it’s great food!
“Outstanding,” wrote one person. “Glad to see a merchant who understands that law-abiding gun owners and carriers are not the problem.”
A handful of people stated their intent to quit patronizing the business.
“I don’t have an issue with business owners having guns for self protection, I’m a gun owner myself,” said one person. “I have issue with customers being encouraged to carry guns in your establishment. Too much potential for accidents. Even the most trained people have gun accidents, and people who carry in public without training and a permit scare me.”
One patron asked “When you were broken into 16 times and robbed three times with a knife to your face how many customers with guns were there to help? Were you even there the times they broke in?”
“Sounds like you either need to get trained yourself to protect yourself or hire security,” he added. “I doubt many concealed-carry or open-carry patrons truly know how they will react … or whether will have clue where their bullets may go when they miss.”
The owner defended the policy in clear terms.
“I have been broken in to 16 times, and robbed three times with a knife to my face,” said owner Paul Cohlmia on Facebook. “Thank you for your comments — God bless you.”
“I just don’t want to be a number,” Cohlmia told the Wichita Eagle. “I don’t want to be in that situation ever again. It is scary, and everybody wants to give their two cents, but when it comes down to being robbed, it’s a whole different story.”
While most of the comments are positive, some comments negative, a few of them are just hateful.
“Some of it is just flat out telling me I’m a bigot, and they don’t know me,” said Cohlmia. “I have all kinds of friends of all kinds of religions. I’m not going to prove that to anybody, but the proof is in the pudding. I can deal with a lot of stuff and you can’t fight everybody.”
Kansas is a particularly gun-friendly state. Gun owners may carry openly or concealed without any permit or license in most places. The state issues carry permits for residents who want to carry in other states that share reciprocity with Kansas.