Rep. Lauren Boebert’s open carry-friendly restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, officially shut its doors this weekend due to its lease not being renewed.
Ms. Boebert, Colorado Republican, said the news from her landlord was a “shock,” given that she and her husband had owned the establishment, dubbed Shooters Grill, since 2013.
“There wasn’t really much wiggle room or anywhere to compromise unless we bought the building ourselves,” Ms. Boebert told the Post Independent, referring to her new lease.
The congresswoman said she plans to maintain Shooters’ place in the community via a scaled-down version that could look like a bakery or coffee shop.
“I would say Shooters, for any employee, was their life. We lived and breathed it every single day. They were a part of this culture and brand that we created in Rifle, and there was a lot of pride with that,” Ms. Boebert said.
Shooters served about 100 tables a day and employed roughly 75 people.
Servers were given the option to open carry firearms, including semiautomatic weapons, while working there.
The restaurant’s gun-inspired theme was sparked by someone being beaten to death outside Shooters and employees requesting open carry.
The congresswoman said she devised the idea of owning the restaurant after ministering to female inmates at a local jail. She wanted to give them working opportunities after their release.
Ms. Boebert, who has been a staunch Second Amendment advocate in Congress, previously said her restaurant was a symbol for upholding gun rights.
“We’ve become a voice for the Second Amendment, and it’s a voice I’m proud to have,” Ms. Boebert told The Denver Post. “There are so many voices darkening the Second Amendment, and I’m proud to be a part of those standing and taking their place and saying, ‘No, we rightfully own our firearms, and we’re responsible with them.’”