A Maine restaurateur is facing calls for a boycott after she announced she was banning owners of semi-automatic rifles from her restaurants, as well as people who support the private ownership of such rifles.
“If you own this gun, or you condone the ownership of this gun for private use, you may no longer enter either of my restaurants, because the only thing I want to teach my children is love,” Ms. Verrill wrote, including a picture of what appeared to be an AR-15, similar to the Sig Sauer MCX that Omar Mateen used to kill 49 people at a Orlando gay club over the weekend, the Portland Press Herald reported.
“You don’t privately own this weapon to protect your family, or to hunt. I understand that I may be offending members of my community, but this is a human issue, not a gun owners issue, or a Second Amendment issue, it is about humans,” she continued. “I cannot, in good conscience, accept anyone inside of my restaurants who believes that this is OK.”
Ms. Verrill’s post received a wave of backlash from gun-rights advocates before it was eventually deleted. In a follow-up post Wednesday afternoon, she tried to explain that she doesn’t want to take people’s guns away, she just wants a ban on “weapons of war.”
“I don’t want to take away guns of responsible gun owners,” she wrote, the Portland Press Herald reported. “I don’t care if you have 12 hunting rifles if you are a responsible hunter. I want people to not have the power to own weapons of war. I want our government to be able to deny someone they can put on the ‘no fly’ lists to not buy a semi-automatic weapon. If you do not understand why I do not want a weapon designed to kill at that kind of rate of speed in my restaurants then there is nothing I can do about that. But I am not going to hide behind not politicizing myself for fear of my economic security. If evil and hate want to boycott my restaurants then so be it, because I believe good will be on my side on this.”
The follow-up didn’t do much to quell critics.
“It’s far too late to hide your moronic post from earlier, your stupidity has since gone viral and your rating on Facebook has plummeted,” wrote one commenter, the Portland Press Herald reported. “You should have stuck to not being political and just served your food. You brought this on yourself by being uneducated in your opinions.”
Ms. Verrill said the backlash led her to notify police to keep an eye on her restaurants. She said she hasn’t had an issue yet.
“I think the people who are on the other side of those are louder, a little more vocal,” she told the Herald. “But that’s part of the problem in America right now, too. Since when could people not have different opinions?”
“At some point you have to take a stand. At some point you’re accountable. It has to be about more than just posting a Facebook meme with a rainbow flag,” she added.
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