LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — When Winchester, Va., resident Bryan Crosswhite heard about two plainclothes police officers being refused service because they were carrying weapons at a Prince William County restaurant early last year, he hatched an idea.
He created “Open Carry Wednesdays” at his own Leesburg, Va., establishment, The Cajun Experience, and gave anyone who participated 10 percent off their meals.
That promotion has been going on for almost a year now. Recently, he says, he’s been getting a lot of calls from people asking him if he knows of other establishments that support the Second Amendment.
Last month, that led Crosswhite to found 2amendment.org, 2AO for short, a website that helps businesses (and individuals) show their support for Second Amendment rights.
Upon registering with the site, a 2AO decal is issued. The idea is that businesses can put it up in their windows, similar to the way they would display a Zagat sticker. Crosswhite is also working on a smartphone app that would allow users to find pro-Second Amendment businesses in their area.
2AO launched at the end of December. Since then, Crosswhite says hundreds of people from all over the country have registered, despite him originally thinking it would be a initiative specific to the northern Virginia area.
“It’s been overwhelming,” he says.
Although Crosswhite supports the Second Amendment and supports businesses that support the Second Amendment, he also believes companies that don’t permit firearms on their properties are just as entitled to their policies.
Recently, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in Woodbridge, Va., attracted ire from some customers after announcing on its Facebook page that it would no longer allow guns inside the establishment.
Earlier in 2013, the Starbucks company publicly asked customers not to carry firearms into its stores, though it did not place an outright ban on guns in the cafes.
“These are private industries, private companies,” Crosswhite said, stressing the fact that they have the right to ask people not to bring guns onto their properties, just as he has the right to host “Open Carry Wednesdays” at his restaurant.
He noted that 2AO is not meant to single out businesses that don’t want guns in their establishments.
“We’re more about looking at it from a positive perspective,” he said. The goal is simply to be a voice for pro-Second Amendment business owners, he added.
Crosswhite also stresses that his organization does not encourage Second Amendment supporters to flout their local gun laws.