- Jersey Mike’s is facing boycott threats after posting joking tweets in response to a conversation about gun violence.
- Over the weekend, a photo of someone carrying two guns into a Jersey Mike’s restaurant sparked conversation on Twitter about open-carry policies.
- Jersey Mike’s responded to tweets calling for the chain to change its open-carry policies by tweeting: “If the laws were up to us, we’d make it so everyone had to eat Jersey Mike’s Subs on Sunday.”
- The sandwich chain apologised on Monday evening, but many gun-control advocates are still calling for a boycott of the chain and demanding that Jersey Mike’s ban open carry in stores.
- “Failure to address this with a policy change will not only lead to loss of customers but increased liability as they are on record as choosing to do nothing but joke about it,” Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, told Business Insider in a Twitter direct message.
- Sign up for Business Insider’s retail newsletter, The Drive-Thru, to get more stories like this in your inbox.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Jersey Mike’s is facing backlash after the chain made glib comments on Twitter about someone bringing guns into sandwich shops.
On Saturday, the anti-gun-violence advocate Travis Akers tweeted a photo of someone in a Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop.
Akers captioned the image: “This man is brandishing two firearms, one of which is not retained properly. I could easily take that gun from him and shoot him, and take the other gun, all within 3 seconds. If you can’t carry safely, you shouldn’t be allowed to carry.”
The photo – originally tweeted by @CombatCavScout – caught the attention of others on social media.
Dude. It’s @jerseymikes, not Fallujah. You think you need a 1911 and an M&P to get a sub, but the thing that’s gonna kill you is cholesterol. Also, zero retention on that M&P. If I could walk up behind you in line and take your gun, you shouldn’t have it. pic.twitter.com/lnv2Hiv1ou
— Cav, One Tin Soldier (@CombatCavScout) October 26, 2019
Just another “responsible gun owner”. I love having lunch with my family where my husband feels the need to stand between a potential threat and my kids. Really makes the sub digest well. https://t.co/cz4dGLfg39
— ONBB (@OutNmbrdByBoys) October 26, 2019
On Monday, Jersey Mike’s began responding to people’s concerns. In at least eight tweets posted on Monday afternoon and seen by Business Insider, the chain responded: “If the laws were up to us, we’d make it so everyone had to eat Jersey Mike’s Subs on Sunday.”
Jersey Mike’s deleted the tweets on Monday evening. However, in the hours that they were still up, many took offence to the chain’s lighthearted response to discussion of gun safety.
“As most who follow me know, my daughter was a victim of gun violence,” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. “@jerseymikes, I will never eat in one of your restaurants again. Mocking the desire of customers to be safe when eating is a bad idea. Thankfully, the laws are not up to you.”
Here is a photo of the customer that started this. @jerseymikes should ban open carry in their restaurants and here is why. This customer was to incompetent to even properly secure this weapon and @jerseymikes turn that into a joke. Somebody could have died because of this. pic.twitter.com/KR0UeEGrWm
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) October 28, 2019
My son has a basketball game tonight so @jerseymikes was going to be our choice for dinner. Not now and not ever again!
— Kristine (@mamallama8824) October 28, 2019
This is @jerseymikes response to this photo of a negligent gun owner inside their store. Jersey Mikes has every right to regulate whether or how guns are brought into their stores. Shop at their competitors. #subsnotguns https://t.co/4VxN7paTZM pic.twitter.com/4zL9UVTDp4
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 28, 2019
“As long as you allow open carry in your stores, we’ll make sure to grab a sub @subway any day of the week,” March for Our Lives tweeted.
On Monday evening, Jersey Mike’s tweeted: “Thank you. We apologise. We always want to do better.” As of Tuesday morning, all the other tweets regarding open carry had been deleted.
However, many are not ready to accept the apology until Jersey Mike’s changes its open-carry policy. These gun-control advocates are instead calling for a boycott of the chain.
— Caleb Knox (@CKquaCK) October 28, 2019
— be.the change.dana (@dcburns74) October 29, 2019
Upon further review, not good enough. This seems to be your standard reply. Allowing people like this in your stores and then joking about it requires a change in policy and thought. I hope to hear from you @jerseymikes. https://t.co/3djCp0EPwt pic.twitter.com/V0OckOASV8
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) October 29, 2019
In September, Walmart asked customers to stop openly carrying guns in stores after two deadly shootings at Walmarts in El Paso, Texas, and Southaven, Mississippi. Chains including Starbucks, Kroger, and CVS have also banned the open carry of firearms in stores.
Jersey Mike’s did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on whether the chain would change its open-carry policy. When Business Insider asked the chain for comment on Monday evening, the chain sent a link to the apology tweet.
Guttenberg told Business Insider that he has not heard further from Jersey Mike’s, “other than the unacceptable form response.”
“My advice to them would be to take this more seriously,” Guttenberg said in a Twitter direct message. “This customer could have gotten somebody killed. Failure to address this with a policy change will not only lead to loss of customers but increased liability as they are on record as choosing to do nothing but joke about it.”