An East Tennessee-based wildlife resources officer was asked to leave an Outback Steakhouse on Friday night after he was spotted openly carrying his service weapon while in uniform.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Officer Andrew Ward, a USMC veteran, was reportedly asked to leave by the manager of the franchise, who had received a complaint from a nearby patron of the establishment.
“Well we had a first tonight,” Ward wrote on Facebook. “While I was at work tonight (in uniform) I stopped by Outback Steakhouse to eat supper with my wife. I was approached by the manager and asked if I would put my gun in my truck. I let her know that I couldn’t because I was in uniform. She then went and made a call and came back and we were asked to leave because Outback is a gun free zone.”
While Outback has long had anti-gun policies concerning non-uniformed personnel who wish to carry open or concealed in their establishments, a spokesperson from Outback told news station WBIR that there was a misunderstanding.
“We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their sidearms while dining with us. A manager made a mistake. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”
However, Ward later noted that he was asked to disarm due to a customer who was afraid to be shot by police.
“She said police are shooting people, and she could have gotten shot in the parking lot, and the manager had to walked her and her husband to their vehicle,” Ward wrote in one of several posts he published about the incident. “We were told it was a policy they don’t allow guns- if we would have known there was a complaint we would not have went anywhere! Seriously, she was scared for her life? We were joking and laughing with our server as we ordered, then prayed. What was scary about that?”
Ward was given a $100 gift card by the establishment, though it is unknown if he ever plans to eat at an Outback again.
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