On Monday, Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich publicly announced that customers should not bring guns into the bakery-cafe chain’s stores.


“Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.”

Two days later, a criminal pulled a gun and fatally shot a police officer inside a Panera restaurant in Abingdon, Maryland. He then fled the store and engaged responding police in a gunfight, killing another before being killed himself.

That’s some “Panera warmth,” right there behind the crime scene tape.

All of this happened in Maryland, a state with some of the strictest “gun safety” laws in the country, in the “safety” of Panera’s newly declared “gun free zone.”

I guess he didn’t get the message.

But here’s my message to you. There is no such thing as a gun free zone, because in a free society, gun free zones operate on the honor system. And in case you hadn’t noticed, murderers are not honorable.

Now if you are a fan of these types of restrictions, you might point out that the victim in the Panera store was a fully armed police officer. Granted. But one might also point out that even for an armed police officer, going and sitting right next to an individual known to be unstable when responding to a call of his disruptive behavior might not have been the best approach.

Carrying a gun is no guarantee that you get to go home safe at the end of the day, and even if there were armed citizens in that store there is no guarantee that the outcome would have been any better. But there are no guarantees in life, and every adult understands that. A seat belt does not guarantee you’ll survive a car crash, but it betters the odds so you put it on. And short of the seat belt failing mechanically, we don’t blame the belt for a fatal car crash…we recognize the crash as being too severe for the seat belt to save the driver.

Having a gun does not guarantee you’ll survive the crash, but it can improve your odds. Panera CEO Ron Shaich wants you to leave your seat belt off. Get the message?


— Dave Cole

UPDATE:  When writing this, I did not notice that the original story about Panera CEO Ron Shaich was from September of 2014. Mea culpa. However, it doesn’t really change anything…kind of like “gun free zones.”

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37 thoughts on “Getting the Message”

  1. Oh the Internet is broke!

    Though I’m am against the Panera Bread’s message of no guns in his stores, I’m more so against people changing facts to suit their agenda. You see this message from Panera Bread CEO was not from the past few days but from September 8 2014 Forbes magazine. Included in the opinion are Starbucks and Target consider adjusting your shopping accordingly.

    I support CCP and even Open Carry I believe many are coming around to the idea but this is the kind of shit that leaves a bad taste in other mouths…


  2. The second officer may not have died had there been an armed citizen in the store. Two stories in the last week or so of armed citizens coming to the aid of police and possibly saving their lives.

    1. I totally agree Doug…
      Looks like no more Panera.
      I wish we could develope a FB message of all the business that Do Not Allow Guns in their businesses.
      I’m a retired officer & I carry everywhere for that very reason.

    2. Or possibly more innocents would have died. It has happened that people shooting at the bad guy miss and hit the wrong person. There is no way to tell whether having another armed citizen there would have made things better or worse. On both sides, I am getting tired of people saying “Something didn’t work for the other guy’s plan; if only they had listened to ME, everything would have been fine.” Don’t claim that this is proof that “gun-free zones” don’t work, because that can be just as easily turned around as proof that there needs to be more gun control; if there had been more restrictions, the guy would not have been able to get a gun to shoot people. Instead try to find reasonable methods of preventing this, rather than each side pointing fingers and saying, “You’re wrong!”

      1. Maryland already has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the USA. Maryland also has one of the highest gun violence rates in the country, and Baltimore is second only to Detroit in gun murders per 100,000. In case you hadn’t noticed, high body counts in the US are a consequence of more restrictive gun laws, not less.

        1. “It has happened that people shooting at the bad guy miss and hit the wrong person.” JD, can you cite one instance to support your assertion? This trope is repeated so many times that it goes as unquestioned fact. I am familiar with cases of the police shooting at a suspect and hitting a bystander but I have yet to encounter a case of an armed citizen accidentally shooting a bystander, especially in a mass murderer case. If this ever happened the national media would make front page news of it while they suppress the continuous examples of armed citizens protecting themselves and others.

      2. When will you liberals get it through your thick heads, Criminals do not give a crap about your GUN FREE ZONES, they do not give a crap about any of the gun laws. The only ones that this affects are law abiding citizens who own guns. You people are pathetic.

  3. Just so you know this article has the whole story completely wrong! The guy was stalking his ex wife she called the cops (this guy has a record and was wanted in a few states). The officer approached the man and said how are you doing sir with his badge out and the guys shot the officer point blank right between the eyes.

    1. Yes Katie you are correct, And I respect your opinion but in reality here being the state of our country, I personally would have possibly or someone else been able to take this man out before he was able to shoot. But what is down right pathetic is our states officials Has taken that right away from the citizens, And with that said sadly 2 Of Harford County Men that serve and protect was killed. These gun laws do not work period. All they do is give the upper hand to the bad guys.

      1. Are you saying you want the right to kill people because you think they are dangerous? Then let’s call it that instead of something innocuous sounding, or instead of trying to reduce the number of guns to an amount that makes it seem difficult for crazy folks to get them?

        Seriously, there are about two or three stories a month nationwide about someone possibly using their gun to help. And three or four a week of someone shooting people. Even in places with people carrying.

        1. I think you are misinterpreting what was said, the facts what they are. No one wants people to have the right to shoot someone just because they think he or she is a bad person, no sane person would advocate that. As to the point made about shootings in areas where carrying is legal, I carry but if I don’t feel that I can safely take a shot, I will not draw my firearm. If I do I have become part of the problem and I think you will find that to be rather common among those that carry. If they don’t feel they effectively change the situation they will tend to not draw for fear of two things, 1 living with the mental consequences of taking a innocent life and 2 living with the legal consequences of the mistake.

          1. Then what is the point of carrying a gun into a store, restaurant, etc. if you have to take time to assess the situation and decide if you personally will help or hinder the situation it seems to me that it’s too late.

        2. Katie, to understand the big picture and using your comments specifically requires more thought and correlation. Yes, there are people arguing both sides daily, hourly and even by the minute. And yes, there are bad people shooting other people. But if only 7 people are killed daily by guns in a criminal situation (not including cops shooting people and not including suicides {Statistics by FBI}) as opposed to more than 25 people killed daily in car accidents including 4 killed by drunk drivers in our country that has about 300 million people then then the problem isn’t as bad as gun control advocates make it out to be. Yes people being killed by guns (or bats, knives, hammers, axes, poison and many, many other things) is truly unfortunate but you need to put things into perspective. Why are there not laws against carrying hammers in public? It’s because hammers are tools, they have no intent on their own and if used in a crime then the person wielding the hammer is the accused and not the hammer. The same applies to guns, the gun is a tool. Did you know that being stabbed by a knife with a blade of 3″ or more and being hit with a basic framing claw hammer is 50% more deadly than being shot with a 9mm handgun at point blank range? It’s true, look it up for yourself. People, especially gun control advocates, NEED to be more informed and look at the big picture with as many statistics as possible before making arguments that can be dismissed so easily. With all that said, I do hope you and your loved ones have a safe and great day.

  4. Carrying a legal weapon is a tool nothing more nothing less. Would you drive your car without a spare and the tools to change it?
    Rare thankfully yes but as my father (6 degree Aikido black belt) would say, don’t look for a fight but be ready for one.

  5. Since Panera’s “gun-free” zone is gun-free only for those choosing to obey, I consider Panera to be unsafe for my family and me. I won’t take a gun into Panera because I will not be going to Panera.

      1. I drive through at the bank. Armed. I use the ATM. Armed. I withdraw money as a cash-back transaction at Walmart. Armed. F the Banks. When people carry large amounts of cash, they’re a target. They should be able to protect themselves. The Post Office … that’s because the most dangerous person in the world is your disgruntled Postal Worker … can’t let them get their hands on your gun.

      2. The post office is federal property. Not all banks prohibit carry. Mine doesn’t and should they change that, I will take my business elsewhere.

      3. I carry in both banks and post office, who knows, at least I am safe and so is all the others is there. Maybe one day I can stop the next bad guy. Think about it. Look around you and wonder how many people carry a concealed weapon. you would never know, but you should feel safe because these people know the laws and respect them.

      4. People have no choice about the post office as it is a monopoly, however they do about banks. In my area, very few banks have those stupid gun free zone signs so I and others of my acquaintance do not patronize them.

      5. 98% of the time the average person can avoid the Post Office. You can have your mail delivered and you can use drop boxes to send mail. If you need to send a package then use UPS or FedEx. Most banks in the Milwaukee are allow customers to be armed, the exception is the ghetto areas. The most important weapon anyone has is their brain with the ability to use it. You should try to find ways to protect yourself and your family instead of finding excuses for not protecting you and yours.

    1. I agree! If they do not care about the safety of the patrons I don’t care to spend my hard earned money there. I don’t go anywhere my gun is not welcome. I am trained and certified to carry I worked hard to be licensed to carry I’m not putting my gun away any time soon.

  6. Legally carried firearms are more likely to never even be seen and are not the problem in society. Should I choose to visit one of your locations again I will have my firearm on me, not in my vehicle. Should you choose to put up no carry signs however I will go elsewhere and so will many many others.

  7. Well you see, the problem is most of these thugs are school drop outs, can’t read, so the “GUN FREE ZONE”, so sign means shit!

  8. I hope the families of the officers and patrons present for such event sue the owner for creating a unsafe enviorment due to announcing such information an as enacting such irresponsible thinking. Thus denying the individuals life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  9. Im sure he probably was talking to her when he entered the place of business. An armed person sitting in the place could have probably shot him before he shot the officer because he/she could have been watching this all the time with thoughts of what could happen had this man attacked her. No more Pnera for me.

  10. If you anti-gun nuts realized just how many handgun carrying civilians you walk past in the average day, you would piss yourselves. However, you never notice the vast majority of them, because unless there is a dangerous situation, that weapon will stay concealed.

  11. Almost every single one of you must be deaf anf blind and not to mention down right stupid unless you are a active law enforcement employee yourself. Did you not read or hear the the facts about this tragic incident? The 1st officer to be killed never seen it coming. He never had a chance to even unholster his weapon, so I dont care if every single person including employees were packing ,you or noone could have stopped what happened to that 1st officer. 2nd of all Im all for helping a brother out in the time of need and especially in a moment of complete caos and mayhem but the the last thing those officers that were responding to that scene after getting reports of officers down is also reports multiple ppl with guns on scene because instead of 3 losses of life that tragic day the death toll would have been higher. On incidents like that,the last thing officers responding to that call need is a bunch of vigilantes playing cop and endangering the lives of more ppl because they have no training in them type of scenarios other then just a handgun permit and a carry permit but thats it. You might know how to shoot your weapon but your not a trained cop from watching a bunch of lethal weapon and 21 jump street movies and went out and got yourself a carry permit. Again this is not directed at any law enforcement trained ppl. I am just like everyone else on here and would have loved to have dropped that piece of shit before he would have had a chance to kill the 2nd officer and I say the 2nd because again the 1st one never seen it coming. But then I try to put my self in the officers shoes that are responding to that call and try to put myself in thier mindset at that moment while responding to TWO officers down and then how much more stressful for them it would be to also hear multiple ppl with guns at location and all this kaos while enroute not knowing if these are suspects with guns or what and if its a close comrad they were close with that is down. So I see everyones point on gun control and I dont have a problem with cc law but its when pp that talk like a few of these ppl do that scare the crap outta me because I see innocent ppl getting hurt or killed because someone with a ccp wants to play super citizen.

  12. This event is no doubt very unfortunate for these two officers, their friends and their families. However, if there is a lesson to be learned here it’s that carrying a weapon does not replace being aware of your immediate environment and those around you or definitely maintaining “effective” distance, position, and timing near anyone who is exhibiting verbal and nonverbal behavior out of sync with the “normals” in the environment. This guy’s verbal and nonverbal behavior was “off” from the start. I will make sure I have learned this lesson …

  13. 1st off if you are a CCP who the hell knows if your carting or not. 2nd I’m not saying whether or not I carry, if you are a true CCP person no one, not even your kids should know.
    3rd. The “Not bringing a fire arm into there store” is a personal rule and not a city, county, state or federal law..
    So it’s my opinion they can go to hell.

  14. Sorry man this is Idaho. #3 in the nation as far as number of gun owners. I’m not comfortable in a self defense free environment. But the beauty of that is that I also am a cwp holder. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Nobody needs to know their lives are safer in my presence. Let em go about their sheep filled lives, believing that signs and words stop crime instead of responsible, law abiding citizens. I carry my weapon everywhere I go except city, state and county buildings. Period.

  15. The FBI recently reported the following: During its investigation, the FBI engaged with the man using an undercover asset. The man told the undercover asset, “I tried to shoot up a church one day. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s close to my job. It’s one of the biggest ones in Detroit. Ya, I had it planned out.” The subject then told the asset why he chose the church, stating, “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church.”

    Churches being automatically “gun free” zones is a Michigan thing. Several other states are the same. Here in KY that provision of the law was removed several years ago at the request of g group of clergymen.

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