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Armed Law Officer Asked to Leave Gun-Free Restaurant

Armed Law Officer Asked to Leave Gun-Free Restaurant

Not that any law-abiding gun owner would ever wish it, but if there had been an armed robbery at one Outback restaurant in Tennessee while a certain manager was on duty before Feb. 3, no one—and we mean no one—would have been able to stop it before police arrived. That’s the message that one manager sent after she turned away a uniformed law officer because he was carrying his service firearm.

Even after the patron said that the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TRWA) requires its officers to be armed while in uniform, the manager asked TWRA officer Andrew Ward to remove his sidearm or leave.

Outback later apologized to Ward and issued a statement saying that law enforcement officers are allowed to carry their guns in the restaurant. “A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized,” the director of media and community relations for Bloomin Brands, Outback's parent company, said in a statement to a local news channel.

“While I truly respect the restaurant for reaching out to the officer, our community must also show support to the men and women who place the badge on their chests every single day in order to protect the establishment in which the officer was asked to leave,” Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson said in a statement on Facebook.

The fact that a manager would take the “gun-free zone” designation so seriously as to refuse to serve a uniformed officer does nothing to protect the good citizens of Cleveland, Tenn., or the restaurant, should an armed criminal have come in on her watch.

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