On January 1, the law allowing licensed handgun owners to openly carry their firearms in public went into effect. The law, however, allows for private businesses to opt out of this measure, provided there are posted signs with one-inch-high block letters in conspicuous places stating that guns are not allowed on the property.
Some restaurants across the state have embraced the new law, like Amigo's BBQ Grill in Pflugerville. One Houston barbecue trailer, Brooks Place, is even going so far as to offer a 25% discount to diners packing heat.
Here in Austin, a number of restaurants have already chosen to prohibit open carry. Foreign & Domestic is among those restaurants. "There are several reasons why [we chose to opt out]," owner Ned Elliott told Eater, "but first and foremost, a warm, safe, inviting, joyous environment for all does not include sidearms." He added, "We want Foreign & Domestic to be a celebration." As such, any behaviors that infringe on other people’s comfort are off the menu at the North Loop restaurant.
Kelly Chappell of Intergalactic Productions, which includes Galaxy Cafe, Zocalo Cafe, and Top Notch Hamburgers, agreed with Elliott. He told Eater,
It's not a question of politics. It's a question of common sense. We don't believe that guns, children, and alcohol are a good combination, nor do we believe that welcoming firearms will further our mission of creating a warm, comfortable atmosphere for our guests.
The Houston Chronicle has put together a nifty slideshow that teases out the nuances of the open carry law for those who might have lingering questions. Any business that derive 51% or more of its revenue from alcohol sales have never been permitted to allow guns on site, and the new open carry law does not change that. This means that guns are not allowed in bars.