There’s always two sides to every story, especially when it comes to the tall tale of National Guardsman, Billy Welch. Early Sunday morning, Welch became a champion to pro-military gun advocates everywhere after he was refused service at his local Waffle House for wearing a holstered firearm into the restaurant.
According to NBC affiliate Lex 18, although Welch was in uniform, he was told to take the firearm to his car by his waitress just after he ordered breakfast. Welch told the server that he didn’t feel comfortable being away from his weapon and said, “if I can’t have my firearm, then I can’t be here,” before politely leaving.
Fellow patrons eating at the Nicholasville, Kentucky location quickly took to Facebook, with one saying that she has many family members in the military, so it hurts when they are disrespected. Others are calling the staff and owner of the Waffle House bigoted and narrow-minded, while some are saying they’ll never eat at Waffle House again.
Trying to save his business (and Waffle House’s great reputation), the franchise owner Ray Daniels dropped a bombshell today when he released a statement via Facebook accusing Welch of being in a fight several weeks prior, making him a menace at the establishment.
While Waffle House franchise buildings do not permit firearms, Daniels clarified that his restaurant doesn’t strictly enforce the policy when serving active military members or police officers. Because Welch had been in a fight, his gun seemed even more dangerous and he was told to keep it outside.
“If this incident occurred at 10 a.m. in the morning and Mr. Welch had not been involved in a previous fight, I’m sure the outcome would have been different,” Daniels explained. “We are highly supportive of all our military branches.”
Daniels’ statement, which was reposted by Lex 18, has since been taken down from his franchise Facebook page. Even if Waffle House is now silencing Daniels to get a better grasp on this PR mess, his words seem legitimate. Kentucky permits the open carry of firearms and there’s really no way Daniels could tell an armed National Guardsman to take hike, unless he had some probable cause.
Is Welch a hero or a hazard? Leave your comments below and read more about the incident right here.