A Kentucky Chuck E. Cheese appears to have taken the kid-friendly chain’s “no guns” policy too far, refusing to serve a police officer who entered the restaurant with a firearm.
The gun-toting officer encountered the problem at the Chuck E. Cheese in the Greenwood Mall in the city of Bowling Green, prompting outrage from some people, including a sheriff from a neighboring jurisdiction, WBKO-TV reported Friday.
"I was upset,” Edmonson County Sheriff Shane Doyle told the station. “I was shocked for that officer and also for all the patrons there because you know if you have an obvious police officer and they're wearing police clothing, then I don't understand what the problem would be having someone like that with the training and experience of a police officer [coming] into an establishment."
Chuck E. Cheese’s national headquarters called the situation an unfortunate misunderstanding.
"Our firearms policy does not apply to officers in uniform. We do have a no firearms policy for civilians and off-duty non-uniformed officers, but officers in uniform are always welcome to bring in their firearms," Chuck E. Cheese spokeswoman Alexis Lynn told the station.
But what constitutes a uniform? The officer refused entry was wearing a marked police polo shirt.
Doyle said that shouldn't have been an issue.
"I've seen Bowling Green officers in polos many times in my history working in law enforcement, and obviously I recognize that person as a sworn employee," he said.
Besides, the sheriff said, Kentucky state law permits police officers to carry their weapon in most locations regardless of whether they were on duty or not.
"The state law allows us to carry concealed anywhere in the state of Kentucky except for federal buildings, that's basically the only place," he said.
Doyle told the station he still plans to take his family to the Bowling Green Chuck E. Cheese, but he added that everybody “needs to understand that somebody who is trained and qualified to carry a weapon, they’re there to help people.”