DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With about 80,000 National Rifle Association (NRA) members attending four days of its annual meeting in downtown Dallas, the owner of a Dallas restaurant says he thought it was a good opportunity to start a conversation — but he may have set off a storm.
“No NRA member wants kids to get slaughtered. No NRA member wants cops to get killed. And people like me don’t want to take their guns away either. Can we not have both?” said Joe Groves, owner of Ellen’s.READ MORE: Dallas County Surpasses 3,000 COVID-19 Deaths, 25 More Reported Tuesday
Groves says gun violence touched Ellen’s personally after the July 7, 2016 ambush of five Dallas police officers. “Those guys were our friends. We knew them. They were regular customers. We saw them everyday,” he said.
On Friday morning, Ellen’s printed this message on its receipts:
“A portion of this week’s proceeds will donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations.”
Almost immediately, Ellen’s started getting calls from NRA convention attendees. The event is taking place at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.READ MORE: 'We Still Don't Have Herd Immunity': North Texas Healthcare Community Concerned About Removal Of Mask Mandate
So, Ellen’s changed the message to say:
“A portion of this week’s proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations that protect citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights and also help reduce needless gun violence.”
“No! I’m sorry, but when you’re NRA, we don’t want anymore gun regulations. We already have too many,” said NRA member Patricia Ferguson.
Ferguson saw the receipt on Twitter and went down to warn fellow NRA members not to eat there.
“I believe they’re just being too political, and I also believe that if everybody is armed… an armed society is a polite society,” said NRA member Garrick Rymiller.
“One extreme versus the opposite extreme is never going to get anywhere. That’s where we are right now,” said Groves.MORE NEWS: Tarrant County Lifts Local Mask Mandate 'Effective Immediately'
Many people are choosing not to eat at Ellen’s, but the message is also having the opposite effect. There were others who had never heard of Ellen’s that went Friday evening to support them.