On Wednesday, the Portland Press Herald of Portland, Maine, reported that Anne Verrill, owner of Grace in Portland and Foreside Tavern in Falmouth, banned owners of AR-15 style weapons from her two restaurants.
“If you own this gun, or you condone the ownership of this gun for private use, you may no longer enter either of my restaurants, because the only thing I want to teach my children is love,” she wrote on the Facebook pages of her two restaurants.
“You don’t privately own this weapon to protect your family, or to hunt. I understand that I may be offending members of my community, but this is a human issue, not a gun owners issue, or a Second Amendment issue, it is about humans,” she added. “I cannot, in good conscience, accept anyone inside of my restaurants who believes that this is OK.”
But it seems she got a bit more than she bargained for.
The original post was taken down and replaced with another that explained:
“I don’t want to take away guns of responsible gun owners. I don’t care if you have 12 hunting rifles if you are a responsible hunter. I want people to not have the power to own weapons of war. I want our government to be able to deny someone they can put on the “no fly” lists to not buy a semi-automatic weapon. If you do not understand why I do not want a weapon designed to kill at that kind of rate of speed in my restaurants then there is nothing I can do about that. But I am not going to hide behind not politicizing myself for fear of my economic security. If evil and hate want to boycott my restaurants then so be it because I believe good will be on my side on this. As long as my doors are open I will believe that love is love. And when my children ask me where I was on this, I will say I was right there, fighting for a better world for us and for all those people who lost their lives.”
That post, however, also got called out.
According to the Press Herald:
One commenter wrote, “Your (sic) a special kind of stupid.”
Another wrote, “It’s far too late to hide your moronic post from earlier, your stupidity has since gone viral and your rating on Facebook has plummeted. You should have stuck to not being political and just served your food. You brought this on yourself by being uneducated in your opinions.”
Verrill’s emotional Facebook posts and the reaction they got are illustrative of the broader debate over guns in this country – a debate that is often reignited after the latest tragedy, in this case the mass killing of 49 clubgoers in Florida by a man who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The debate over guns and access to guns has become increasingly political, with most Republicans citing the Second Amendment when they fight attempts to restrict gun ownership, while many Democrats favor banning some weapons and tightening background checks.
Verrill, the Press Herald said, actually contacted the police, concerned that gun owners might take violent action against her. Of course, nothing happened as of Wednesday night.
The paper, incidentally, disabled comments on the story because of “excessive personal attacks.”
Verrill also wrote:
“I have read everything written on this page. I have read the interesting and thought provoking comments, the beautiful kind support and the most hurtful things that have ever been said to me in my life. I hear you all because I am listening. I hope the larger issue of a safer America can become a bigger focus than this small facebook page.”
Jenn Jacques added:
Brilliant. Verrill finally made an intelligent and valid point: the larger issue of a safer America should become a bigger focus than her ignorant facebook page. The fact is, an armed America is the safest America we could ever hope to have and I, for one, am not comfortable with anyone infringing on the rights our ancestors sacrificed life and limb to afford us as citizens of this great nation.
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