Man demands right to carry licensed gun into Denny's

By Don Logana - bio | email

RICHMOND HILL, GA (WTOC) - Do you have a gun permit? Do you carry your weapon into restaurants? One man says, he never had a problem until this week.

The incident happened at a Richmond Hill Denny's on Highway 17. One man says he was treated unfairly, but the law may be on the restaurant's side.

"I walked in and she saw the weapon on my side. I was fine, I was seated to my table," said Ashraf Abdallah.

Twenty-two-year-old Ashraf Abdallah has been a regular at the Denny's Restaurant in Richmond Hill for years.

"I've been coming here for 12 years, since I was a child. My father would bring me out here," Abdallah told WTOC.

His visit on Wednesday afternoon may have been his last after what he calls rude treatment by a new manager.

"She walked up to me and said, 'hey, is that a weapon on your side?'" Abdallah explained. "I said, 'yes ma'am' She asked if I was law enforcement. I said, 'No ma'am.' 'You can't have that in here,' she told me. I said, 'ma'am I have a carrier's permit and Georgia law allows me to carry it in a restaurant.' As along as I have been coming in here, my father comes in here, my friends carry it. she said, 'I'll have to check on that' in front of all the customers."

A few minutes later, Abdallah claims the manager returned with the Denny's manual and policy.

"She opened up the book in front of me right on the table like I was a child," Abdallah said. "She put me on a level I had never been to before."

"I said, 'ma'am I have been coming here for 12 years, cops see me, sheriffs see me with my weapon, nobody has ever say anything,'" Abdallah added. "Put a sign up saying, 'hey no weapons.' Why not have a sign? She said, 'it's in our hand book.' How am I supposed to know what is in your handbook?"

WTOC checked with local authorities. They say restaurants are within their rights to refuse customers who carry a firearm in plain view, regardless of permit.

"A customer told the waiter to tell my table to file a complaint because he didn't like the way I was treated," Abdallah told WTOC.

WTOC contacted Denny's, who told us their policy is not to allow conspicuous weapons.

They said n a statement:

"We have looked into this customer's complaint and believe that our employees acted in an appropriate manner and did not discriminate against the customer in any way.  Denny's is committed to treating all customers with dignity and respect.  It is the Company's policy not to discriminate against any customer or employee for any reason."

Abdallah contacted the district manager for Denny's who sent this reply:

Please understand, as a business proprieter we have an obligation to protect all of our guests, including you. Please understand if you were dining at Denny's with your wife and family were sitting next to somneone with a conspicuous weapon, how safe would you feel? I certainly do not feel as though the manager was discriminating, although she may have been reacting emotionally and it may have felt like she was singling you out.

"I have a firearm, a licensed fire arm. I signed my life, my freedom over to carry this gun and protect me and anyone around me, not to use it against people," Abdallah said.

"She was confident, she knew what she was doing, she didn't care how anybody felt, she didn't care how I felt," Abdallah said. "She was not acting emotionally, she was acting very rude."

Abdallah says he will take his business elsewhere from now on.

Denny's did apologize to Abdallah for any misunderstanding; however, he tells WTOC his next stop will be to a lawyer.

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