The 2018 National Rifle Association Annual Meetings took place May 4th-6th in Dallas, Texas. And given the fact that nothing meaningful has been done to prevent gun violence since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, it’s understandable that people are upset. Gun violence is a growing epidemic, and many Americans have had enough. During the convention, Ellen’s, a Dallas area restaurant, printed a message supporting responsible gun regulation at the bottom of its receipts. And sadly, it’s received threats of violence, which is so not okay.
“Thanks for visiting Ellen’s!” the receipt read initially. “A portion of this week’s proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations. Welcome to Dallas!”
After the Parkland school shooting in February and the 2016 Dallas police shootings, which happened just blocks from the restaurant, Ellen’s owner Joe Groves hoped to use the convention as an opportunity to spark a respectful conversation about common sense gun reform. Unfortunately, the opposite happened.
The NRA tweeted a photo of the Ellen’s receipt to their 666,000 followers, urging their members to “steer clear” of the restaurant, and the photo quickly went viral. It also attracted the attention of many gun control advocates, who quickly called for people to support the restaurant. And, understandably, many took issue with the NRA’s blatant disregard for the First Amendment.
Supporters of common sense gun reform (and freedom of speech) weren’t here for the NRA’s callout, and Twitter flocked to support Ellen’s.
A few hours later, Ellen’s updated the message on its receipts to clarify any misconceptions.
But unfortunately, the damage had already been done.
According to an interview with BuzzFeed News, Groves is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but he wanted to encourage people to find a common-sense solution to the growing violence.
The extreme responses are proof that we need better conversation around the Second Amendment.
Ellen’s has been receiving threats of violence since the NRA’s tweet.
Groves said people have called threatening to “shoot the place up” and even threatened to burn the restaurant down.
Resorting to violence is completely unacceptable.
There’s a difference between responsible gun control and taking away all guns, and numbers suggest that a majority of Americans support common sense gun reform. We are ashamed to see people putting a distorted view of the Second Amendment before the First Amendment. We can only hope that the conversation around gun control continues to evolve — peacefully and respectfully. Hopefully, we can find a solution that protects both our rights and our lives.