Restaurant sign declaring 'guns are welcome' sparks heated debate

A Kansas restaurant has sparked a heated debate on social media after posting a picture to its Facebook page stating, “guns are welcome on our premises.”

On Saturday morning, Riverside Cafe in Wichita, Kans., posted a picture of a grey-and-white handgun with a green circle around it underneath the declaration that guns are welcome. The image was captioned, “We fully support the 2nd amendment.”


Since it went up on Facebook, the response has been swift with more than 550 reactions and hundreds of comments both praising and criticizing the stance.

“I’ll be in regularly. Thanks for your public support of the 2nd amendment,” one person in favor of the sign wrote.

“I’m not in Wichita anymore. But this post is awesome, bold and worthy of recognition for the simple fact that there’s a RIGHT to bear arms and you support that right! Next time I’m in town, I’ll be sure to Stop by and support your Business!” user Danielle Welch commented.

While Pat McCleave wrote, "Scratch one more place of business off my list of places I will choose to spend my money."

“Kansas laws allow gun-toting with no permits nor training. Often with no background check! Sorry, will no longer be a customer,” another critical of the post wrote on Facebook.

Owner Paul Cohlmia was unaware of the reactions on social media, telling The Wichita Eagle he has someone new managing his social media and did not know the post went up. However, once made aware of the comments, Cohlmia started responding and defending his policy.

"Have been broken in to 16 times, and robbed 3 time with a knife to my face,” Cohlmia wrote on Facebook.

Cohlmia also pointed out that the same sign has been hanging in the front window of the café for the past 12 years -- and will likely remain there after his experiences with robberies.

"I just don't want to be a number," he said to The Wichita Eagle. "I don't want to be in that situation ever again. It is scary, and everybody wants to give their two cents, but when it comes down to being robbed, it's a whole different story."

He told the publication most of the Facebook comments have been fine, but some have been upsetting.

"But some of it is just flat out telling me I'm a bigot, and they don't know me," he said. "I have all kinds of friends of all kinds of religions. I'm not going to prove that to anybody, but the proof is in the pudding. I can deal with a lot of stuff, and you can't fight everybody."


In Kansas, anyone 21 years and older who legally owns a firearm can conceal carry without a permit under the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act. Though certain establishments may ban those carrying firearms from entering.