True to its name, Colorado restaurant ‘Shooters’ is a pro-guns type of place – the waitresses are all packing heat and patrons are encouraged to do the same! Incidentally, the restaurant is located in a town called Rifle, where openly carrying guns in public is illegal.
A sign on the front door of the restaurant reads: “Guns are welcome on premises. Please keep all weapons holstered, unless the need arises. In such cases, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.” So when waitresses at Shooters take an order, they not only carry a pad and pen, but also loaded handguns holstered around their waist, Wild West Style.
According to Shooters owner Lauren Boebert, the restaurant is simply allowing customers and employees to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. “We encourage it, and the customers love that they can come here and express their rights,” said Boebert. “This country was founded on our freedom. People can come in carrying their gun, and they can pray over their food.”
Boebert said that she specifically chose the restaurant’s name as a tribute to its liberal policy on guns. “I consulted with my Christian friends and everyone said ‘Shooters’ sounded like a bar or a strip joint,” Boebert explained. “But I thought, this is Rifle — it was founded around guns and the Old West. We called it Shooters and started throwing guns and Jesus all over the place.”
Apart from permitting guests and staff to be armed, the 55-seat restaurant also hosts concealed carry training that qualifies people for Colorado and Utah permits. A single session costs $75, including dinner. The restaurant offers American and Mexican cuisine, and understandably, does not serve alcohol.
Most patrons are quite supportive of the restaurant’s policy, like Wayne and Martha Greenwald, who were visiting from Michigan, “We think it’s just fine – we’re very positive about it,” said Wayne. “We carry guns ourselves and own a rifle, shotgun and handguns. We live in a very small town and we take care of our own crime problems.”
Colorado gun-control supporters, on the other hand, aren’t too happy about the policy. “We don’t encourage people to carry guns as a public display in places like stores or restaurants,” said Jennifer Hope of Golden, the Colorado chapter leader for the national Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the group that was formed in 2012 after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut. “If there was a problem in a store and it got robbed or something happened, how would you know who were the good guys and who were the bad guys?” she questioned.
Boebert, however, seems unconcerned about the possibility of misuse of arms. “They’re real, they’re loaded, and we know what we’re doing,” she asserted. “I fear for anyone who tries to rob us.”
Even Police Chief John Dyer seems okay with it, given the fact that Rifle is a surprisingly peaceful town. He said that the last shooting-related death occurred in 2001, so Shooters’ business model isn’t really a matter of concern. “If it was a bar, I might be saying something different,” he said. “But I have no problem with it. And besides, they make a really good burger.”