National News

NRA Urges Boycott of a Dallas Restaurant Supporting ‘Reasonable’ Gun Laws

Posted May 6, 2018 4:06 p.m. EDT

The National Rifle Association asked members attending its annual convention in Dallas on Friday to boycott a nearby restaurant after learning that it would be donating a portion of its proceeds to help end gun violence.

The restaurant, Ellen’s, began including a message on the bottom of its receipts Friday morning, before the NRA’s weekend gathering.

“Thanks for visiting Ellen’s!” said the receipt, which went on to explain that some of the proceeds earned that week would be donated to organizations “dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations.”

“Welcome to Dallas!” it added.

In Texas, where guns and God are often mentioned in the same sentence, and the Republican Party opposes all laws infringing on the right to bear arms, this was a bold declaration.

It was even more daring when stated in proximity to about 80,000 members of the country’s most powerful gun rights group, who gathered at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for the organization’s four-day annual meeting. Events included a leadership forum featuring President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, country music performances and a national prayer breakfast.

Once word got out about the receipts, the NRA on Twitter advised everyone to “steer clear” of the restaurant.

The post spawned thousands of comments, and while many were rallying cries to boycott Ellen’s, others expressed support for the restaurant.

“I will be sure to visit when in Dallas. Thanks for the tip,” one person wrote on Twitter, a sentiment that appeared frequently.

Others questioned why the receipt was problematic. “Because reasonable and effective is SO wrong?” one woman wrote. “Guess you made your point.”

On Friday night, the restaurant responded in a lengthy Facebook post — “What a day this has been!” — insisting that Ellen’s was not in favor of gun control. “The opposite is true,” the statement said. “We support the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment, 100%. And like the NRA, we also support finding solutions to the senseless killings that happen much too frequently. We believe those two things are completely compatible.”

The restaurant modified its receipt to clarify its position, with the new one saying that it is “dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations that protect citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights and also help reduce needless gun violence.” But by then, the restaurant said in its statement, “the situation had become viral.”

Joe Groves, the owner and founder of Ellen’s, did not respond to a request for comment.

The vitriol continued Saturday when the NRA called out Groves by name in another tweet, posting screengrabs purportedly taken from his personal Facebook page that were anti-NRA. The group also criticized Kirsten Powers, a CNN analyst and opinion columnist for USA Today, after she tweeted that the NRA was “extremist” and that the news about Ellen’s made her “want to fly to Dallas for brunch.”

Over the weekend, the restaurant’s Facebook page was flooded with negative comments and one-star reviews.

“They treated me poorly because I was an NRA member and was wearing my NRA ball cap,” one reviewer wrote. “I recommend supporters of the NRA, 2nd Amendment and the US Constitution take their business elsewhere.”

Groves told The Dallas Morning News that he had not yet decided which organizations would receive a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds.

In its Facebook statement, the restaurant said: “No one wants children to die in their classrooms. No one wants police to be killed in the line of duty. The differences we have are in our approach. But we can fix it if we breathe, calm down, and listen to one another. As Americans, that’s what we are supposed to do.”