- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A soldier with the National Guard was told to leave his gun outside or take his business elsewhere Sunday morning at a Kentucky Waffle House.

Billy Welch said he was in his Army National Guard uniform and had his gun holstered to his side when he walked into the Waffle House in Nicholasville for breakfast. After ordering his food, Mr. Welch said a waitress signaled for him to come speak with her, a local NBC affiliate reported.

“I got up and I walked over to them, asked them how they were doing and stuff, and they said I’d have to take my firearm outside,” he told the station. “I don’t feel comfortable taking my firearm away from me. I always keep it with me and they said, ‘it’s one of our policies.’”

Mr. Welch said he didn’t make a fuss of it at the time.

“You know, if I can’t have my firearm, then I can’t be here,” he recalled. “I walked inside to the other waitress. I said, ‘thank you, but no thank you, ma’am. I’m gonna have to leave.’”

Mr. Welch started hearing from people and organizations all over the country after a witness sitting in a booth nearby described the interaction on Facebook, NBC reported.

“I have a bunch of family members and friends who have been active military and in the military and retired and it hurts my feelings when people disrespect them,” said Micaela Shaw, whose posts about the encounter went viral. “I just wanted to stand up for him.”

The owner of the Nicholasville Waffle House said in a statement: “For many years we have had a ‘no firearms’ policy in place in our restaurants.

“We are well aware that different people and businesses have varying opinions regarding this issue, and we respect the right of all to have different opinions. However, we continue to believe this is the best policy for the safety of our customers and associates.”

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