Eater.com- This past weekend, an armed member of the U.S. Navy was denied service at a Waffle House restaurant in Kentucky. According to a local NBC station, when officer Billy Welch — who was in uniform — sat down for a meal at the Nicholasville location of the 24-hour chain, he was told he'd need to disarm or leave the restaurant. Welch, who had his firearm holstered at his side when he walked in the door, was only asked to leave after he'd placed his order and the server noticed the gun. When she asked him to leave his gun outside, he refused. He later told the news station, "You know, if I can't have my firearm, then I can't be here. 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 restaurants across the South are frequently the scenes of deadly or bizarre crimesinvolving guns, and at least one commenter noticed the irony in this Waffle House's policy and actions. Laura Zolman wrote, "and if some crime took place there best is an armed military person who knows how to handle a weapon."
Waffle House's official policy bans guns from its restaurants with the exception of law enforcement.
The restaurant's franchise owner released this statement: "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."
Well, all that we learned from this story is that rules are rules, even if you are in the Navy. Now, If I were dining at the average restaurant would I have a problem if there were a member of our military in there with a firearm? Absolutely not. However, Waffle House isn't the average restaurant. Have you ever been to a Waffle House? I went to one this summer in Florida. I hadn't even ordered my greasy, underwhelming late night breakfast before I was scouring the building for potential exits like someone that gets anxiety from flying. It just always feels like something bad is going to happen. I'm pretty sure Murphy was sitting at a Waffle House at 3AM on a Friday when he came up with his law. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and that's why you shouldn't be in possession of a gun in a Waffle House. Waffle House is a place where the unexpected becomes expected. While a Naval officer might be the person best suited for navigating a tough situation, there's no amount of training that can teach someone to properly handle the combination of drunks, rednecks, and bikers that regular a Waffle House. The reason that not even the most respected of citizens are allowed to carry a gun in a Waffle House is the same reason that you shouldn't be lighting up cigarettes when you are filling your gas tank. It adds an unnecessary element of volatility to an atmosphere that is one step away from explosive at all times.
I can't be the only one that thinks the statement "you know, if I can't have my firearm, then I can't be here" is just a little bit extreme. I'm not exactly familiar with the armed forces handbook, but I would imagine that you are only required to have your firearm on your person when you are on duty. Are there a lot of navigable bodies of water in the middle of fucking Kentucky? How about you just throw your 9MM in the glovebox for 10 minutes while you wait for your grits? You don't have to be standing at attention 24/7/365. If you needed your gun at your disposal that quickly then you probably shouldn't be dining at a place that will take longer to bring your check than they will to prepare your shitty, colon cleansing food.