Viral photos of Raleigh, NC lead Subway to change gun policy
Two months after photos of armed shoppers visiting their downtown Raleigh store caught the nation’s attention, Subway changed its policy on guns in its stores nationwide.
The Connecticut-based restaurant chain’s website now includes a notice in the health and safety section of its social responsibility policies asking customers, other than law enforcement, to keep their weapons hidden.
âFor the consideration and comfort of the restaurant’s employees and patrons,â the policy states, âSubway respectfully requests that patrons (other than authorized law enforcement agencies) refrain from openly displaying firearms at inside restaurants – even in states where “open port” is permitted. “
On May 9, as people protested downtown against social restrictions put in place by Governor Roy Cooper in response to the coronavirus pandemic, armed protesters entered a subway store on Fayetteville Street and started to order sandwiches. Photos of photojournalist Travis Long from The News & Observer showed a man carrying an AT4 rocket launcher, with a sticker saying “inert” on it, slung across his back with two pistols in holsters at the waist.
Another person, wearing a headscarf, was shown carrying a shotgun. In another photo, a man sits with a shotgun resting on a subway bench with a sandwich in his hand. He wears a face covering.
A fourth photo showed a man taking a selfie outside the store while holding a .50 caliber wooden machine gun.
These photos went viral over the weekend.
Connecticut Senators Cite N&O Photos
Local and national gun safety activists, including Raleigh-Apex NAACP, Guns Down America, Newtown Action Alliance and North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, have called on Subway business leaders to act.
On June 29, Connecticut U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy sent a letter to Subway CEO John Chidsey urging him to ban the open carrying of firearms at Subway locations. The restaurant’s corporate headquarters are located in Milford, Connecticut.
Senators cited The News & Observer photos in their request.
âThat North Carolina is an open port state is inappropriate,â they wrote. âNo one should have to fear gun violence when visiting or working at Subway restaurants. “
Sense. Blumenthal and Murphy pointed out that companies such as Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s, Target, Walmart, Panera Bread, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Aldi, CVS and Walgreens all ban the open carrying of firearms in their stores or, like Subway. , ask customers not to.
Subway responded with its new policy change. An email sent to Subway headquarters by The News & Observer requesting comment on the move was not returned on Wednesday.
âWe were grateful when support grew rapidly at the local, state and national levels,â said Gerald D. Givens Jr, president of Raleigh-Apex NAACP and board member of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, in a statement. . âSubway joined us in saying that safety comes first. This moment is a testament to the power of people and businesses coming together to make a difference and be change. “
The Fayetteville Street subway location reopened on Wednesday after having to close due to riots and looting last month that took place around protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed on May 25 while in custody in Minnesota.
Wake County Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford applauded Subway for his policy change.
âNo one needs a slung rocket launcher to just order a sandwich,â Ford said in a statement he tweeted. “I’m happy that Subway has changed its open transportation policy, so that anyone who eats at Subway Restaurant in downtown Raleigh – or anywhere else in the United States – can feel safe.”
This story was originally published July 8, 2020 4:00 p.m.