It’s not a response to Toby Keith’s Virginia restaurant’s gun ban, but a new national registry for Second Amendment-friendly businesses could not have arrived at a better time.
Bryan Crosswhite, who has businesses in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, expects the 2AO app to be up and running next month. That’s short for 2Amendment.org, where any business can register to get a decal on their front door to let their customers know they support the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Consumers will be able to use the app to locate businesses in the registry.
Crosswhite is one of the owners of The Cajun Experience in Leesburg, Va., which for more than a year now has held "Open Carry Wednesday," in which anyone with a concealed or open carry permit can get a 10 percent discount.
“People were always asking me: How do we find other Second Amendment supporting businesses?” Crosswhite told TheBlaze. “I was tired of people asking me who they are. I thought it was sad there isn’t a way to locate these businesses.”
Two Open Carry Wednesdays ago he made the final decision to create the website, which he launched on Monday about noon. Shortly after that, the story hit that Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Woodbridge, Va., alienated some would-be customers with a “no guns permitted” sign on the door.
“It is wrong,” Crosswhite said of the decision by the local franchise that bears the country star's name. “It’s a matter of discrimination. The ban discriminates against people who want to protect their families.”
Crosswhite told TheBlaze that neither the 2Amendment.org website nor the 2AO app would list the registered businesses, but rather allow consumers in any location to press a button on their phone and find a nearby business on the registry.
“2AO is an organization developed by Second Amendment advocates,” the website states. “The organization supports business owners that support the Second Amendment. The organization puts people together with like minded business owners.”
He said that since The Washington Times first reported on the website, he has gotten another registered company every minute, though didn’t have an exact tally as of yet. He said it included insurance companies, restaurants and wood carvers among others.
Further, he explained that it’s for all businesses in any location, not related to the gun laws in the state. The decal is rather a statement of principles by the business owner whether it’s located in an anti-gun state such as New York or a pro-gun state like Texas. Or closer to home for Crosswhite, a gun-friendly state like Virginia versus an anti-gun Maryland or Washington, D.C.
“There is not a gun on the decal,” Crosswhite told TheBlaze. “We don’t want any business to lose customers. So it won’t offend the left, but it will encourage supporters of the Second Amendment.”
One of the sponsors of the new registry is F3 Tactical, a Chantilly, Va.-based firearms and shooting sports stores.
“We’re a firearms friendly store and we want to promote and try to help other businesses who are,” F3 Tactical owner Jimmy Smith told TheBlaze.
Smith said Toby Keith is free to make his own decisions.
“Whatever decision he makes is up to him,” Smith said. “I run our business differently. He can run his own show. I just won’t be patronizing his place.”
A reverse website called Gun Free Dining Tennessee was started by Vanderbilt University professor Ray Friedman, for a neighboring state that – similar to Virginia -- allows for concealed carry but also allows a business owner to prohibit guns, the Washington Times reported.