Carry a gun? Why Indiana restaurant offers 25 percent discount

After a robbery, the owner of a Cajun restaurant in Indianapolis offered a discount to customers carrying a concealed weapon. 

(Elisha Page / Argus Leader) (AP Photo
Open carry gun advocates walk up Minnesota Ave to Starbucks Saturday July 27, 2013, in Sioux Falls, S.D. at a walk organized by Open Carry South Dakota, July 27, 2013. The march by the Sioux Falls chapter of South Dakota Open Carry was meant to highlight responsible gun ownership and the right to bear arms

An Indianapolis restaurant owner is offering a 25 percent discount to concealed-carry permit holders after his business was robbed.

Restaurateur Art Bouvier announced the discount Saturday night on Facebook shortly after the robbery at his Cajun restaurant Papa Roux. It's unclear how much money was taken, but no one was injured.

Bouvier tells The Indianapolis Star that his employees handled the situation like pros and none of his customers knew the restaurant was being robbed until the thief left.

Bouvier says he doesn't want his restaurant to "turn into the O.K. Corral," but he also doesn't want it to "be an easy target."

He says legal gun owners with concealed carry permits will be offered the discount.

"We're not saying, 'Show us your gun.' But if you're a legal and stable carrier of a concealed carry license, I'm going to reward that," he told the Indianapolis Star. "To me, it's common sense. And until further notice, you'll get 25 percent off your bill."

The restaurant is popular with law enforcement personnel — and the presence of police vehicles in the parking lot can't help but deter criminal activity, Bouvier said — but they won't always be there.

Whether to encourage – or discourage – gun owners from carrying guns to restaurants has been a controversial issue in the US.

Five years ago, as Starbucks spread to rural locations, the coffee slinger decided that it wouldn't prohibit customers from openly carrying guns into its stores, at least in states that allow it. At the time, Peet's Coffee, IKEA, and California Pizza Kitchen had all posed signs against open carry in their outlets, even where it was legal. 

Gun rights groups held rallies supporting Starbucks, and the chain drew criticism. In 2012, the company stuck by its policy and issued this statement:  "We are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society and believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both our partners [employees] and customers."

Then, in 2013, Starbucks backtracked: It asked gun owners to leave their firearms at home. 

In major newspaper ads to run Thursday, company CEO Howard Schultzwill explain that a growing number of “Gun Appreciation Day” rallies at Starbucks locations across the country will have to stop. Muddying the water some, the coffeehouse chain, however, says it’ll still serve customers who carry guns into the store.

“We’ve seen the ‘open carry’ debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening,” Mr. Schultz writes. “Pro-gun activivists have used our stores as a political stage for media events … that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of ‘open carry.’ … Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction.”

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