As more businesses ask patrons to keep their guns out, one North Texas restaurant is taking its own stance and encouraging folks to bring their guns along for dinner.
Owners at Tater Junction in Aurora have posted signs on their doors reading, “Notice: Guns Welcome on Premises.”
Co-owner Darren Trainer said they decided to post the signs when they were taking over ownership of the restaurant. It was initially their way of going against the trend of “No Guns” signs on storefronts.
"We decided when we bought this place that we would for fun put a sign up saying guns welcome," said Trainer.
The signs, which also read “Please leave weapons holstered unless need arises. In such cases judicious marksmanship is appreciated,” serve as a joke, Trainer said, but also as their stance on the issue.
"To know that there are places that still allow them to carry, which is their right," said manager Tammara Moreno.
Moreno and Trainer said their crew, like many in the small community, is very much in favor of the right to conceal carry responsibly in case the need to defend one's self arises.
They have taken it to heart to spread that message of responsibility by opening the restaurant weekly to teach a concealed carry class with a licensed trainer, and they even include a meal with the class.
"We want to make sure that people are safe with guns. It's not like the Old West," said Trainer.
Staff said the response to the signs has been pretty positive so far with no complaints coming to them and a lot of customers commenting that they like seeing the approach.
"I loved it when I saw it," said Alan Witten, who has frequented the restaurant for about a decade. "It’s peace of mind. It's better to have it and to not need it than to ever wake up some day and need it but not have it."
"It makes you feel a little more comfortable to know that if something does happen I'm not the only one that's carrying," said Moreno.
Trainer said, for the most part, you don’t even know who or if anyone is carrying, as the guns stay concealed.
"You always hear about the ones that are irresponsible,” said Moreno, “where there's a lot of gun owners that are very responsible, and those are the ones that aren't noticed."
He agrees the signs probably wouldn’t go over as well in a lot of places, especially larger cities, but for them it’s been a conversation starter and even an attraction to the small-town restaurant.
"I get a kick more out of the people that are traveling down [State Route] 114 never have been here before and they kind of get a chuckle out of it,” he said.
Tater Junction has been in Aurora for about 25 years and was just taken over by Trainer's team in the last year and a half, he said.
Currently it’s the only restaurant listed in the Wise County town with a population of about 1,044.