Tennessee Wildlife Resource officer Andrew Ward sit down to eat dinner with his wife at a Cleveland, Tennessee Outback Steakhouse. A manager of the restaurant approached Ward and told that him Outback was a “gun-free zone.” The manager then asked Ward to put his gun in his truck. Ward refused to leave and informed the manager that he couldn’t put his gun away as he was in uniform. The officer was then asked to leave the steakhouse as a result.
Outback Steakhouse has gone to great lengths in recent years to provide a more authentic Australian dining experience. Apparently, part of that involved becoming a “gun-free zone,” which is a nod to the fact that Australia does not allow civilians to be armed without a valid reason. The problem is that Outback is refusing service to the good guys with guns like Andrew Ward who serve and protect the public.
Mr. Ward later went on Facebook and complained about the incident. He wondered “What is this country coming to?” when a uniformed officer who has sworn to protect the public is refused service for following the rules about being armed while in uniform. Ward understandably stated that he feels “disgusted” by the way that he was treated. He also vows to not go back to another Outback again.
Negative publicity surrounding the incident after Ward posted about it on Facebook caused Bloomin’ Brands, Outback’s parent company, to publicly apologize for how Ward was treated. Bloomin’ Brands said that Ward was asked to leave by mistake, adding that the manager should not have asked him to leave since he was in uniform. Bloomin’ Brands said that they have always permitted uniformed officers to carry their service firearms inside the restaurant. Corporate talked to the manager and called Ward to apologize.
Outback later said that Ward was asked to put his gun away because another customer had complained. They said that this was what had prompted the manager to take action. Apparently, there was another customer that was scared for her life because she believes that “police are shooting people.” Therefore, she demanded that the restaurant manager tell Ward to leave the premises since it was supposed to be “gun-free.”
The fact that the Outback manager would yield to one unreasonable individual is unbelievable. Ward said that Americans need to focus their attention on people, like the woman at the restaurant, that try to push their agenda on others. He pointed out that no one else had an issue with his presence. According to Ward, the other customers were fine with him being there. He said that Americans need to stand up for each other and refuse to be bullied by others.
Officer Ward said that his religion has prompted him to forgive the manager. He considers the issue resolved. Ward pointed out that no one is perfect — everyone makes mistakes. It is just important to learn from past mistakes and move on from it.
~ Firearm Daily