Shooters Grill

A reader seemed a bit dubious about the lead story last week (6 July 2014, Issue 1047). So let’s start with the story, and then the comment by John in the U.K.:

Give It a Shot

A Colorado restaurant has a little something extra on the menu. The restaurant is called “Shooters” not because it serves shots of alcohol, which it doesn’t, but because it encourages everyone — from the waitresses to the customers — to carry guns when they come in. The waitresses’ pistols are “real and they’re loaded, and we know what we’re doing,” says owner Lauren Boebert. The restaurant hosts gun safety classes necessary for customers to get concealed carry permits; dinner is included in the $75 class price. Police Chief John Dyer says he has “no problem with it. And besides, they make a really good burger.” The local sheriff supports it too: “I encourage people to get a concealed handgun permit,” said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario. “I think there’s this misunderstanding that we can always be there. But I’ve got about one deputy per 1,000 people. People have the absolute constitutional right to protect themselves.” The restaurant is located in the western town of Rifle. (RC/Summit Daily News) …The waitresses say they have the politest customers on the Western Slope.

About the last sentence in the story (“The restaurant is located in the western town of Rifle.”), John in the U.K. commented, “That location sounds too good to be true ;-)”

Challenge Accepted!

I’m not sure if that’s a serious challenge to the story’s veracity, but Kit and I spent most of last week at a medical conference in the mountains. I told her on the way back I wanted to stop at the closest Costco warehouse, which is a three-hour drive from home (but we were going right by it), and then Shooters for dinner. She agreed to both.

After stocking up on goodies at Costco, we got to Shooters in time for an early dinner. Both of us ordered the Police Chief-recommended burgers. Both waitresses were indeed packing. I couldn’t quite tell what our waitress was carrying, but the other gal’s looked like a Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm, carried nicely in a retention holster (latches the gun in so it can’t fall out, or easily be grabbed out by someone else). That’s a serious piece of hardware: M&P stands for Military & Police, since it was designed for that market (but also available to civilians), and costs around $500 — serious cash for a waitress.

In other words, this isn’t a gimmick where someone straps a World War II surplus piece of junk on their hip to satisfy a “theme restaurant” gig. These gals clearly shoot, and have had training, or they’re “real and they’re loaded, and we know what we’re doing,” as the owner said in the story.

Not for Everyone

It’s a place that makes a statement. I certainly know not everyone wants to hear such a statement, and that’s OK, but I’ll say while we were eating there was a steady stream of customers. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but I was not uncomfortable at all. When civilians use guns to protect themselves, they hit innocent bystanders much less often than police do (as I recall, the stats are 2 percent vs 11 percent). I wouldn’t be afraid of a cop eating dinner there with a sidearm, and a trained civilian with a sidearm is that much safer. Fine.

I chose not to ask if I could take a photo inside: the gals looked pretty tired, and I could relate. But I took one of the front, which shows the location (on the window, and on the sign — click to see larger): Rifle, CO — it’s indeed a real restaurant in a real 9,200-population town, right along the well-traveled Interstate 70. I declined Kit’s offer to take a photo of me standing out front, since it was a long week and I was road weary, but there you go, John!

Front of restaurant with 'Shooters grill' painted on the window.
Shooters Grill in the delightfully named Rifle, Colorado. (Photo: Randy Cassingham, click to see larger.)

Oh, and the burgers? A bit greasy, but tasty. I had the “G9” — topped with guacamole, bacon, and habanero-jack cheese. Nice combo!


In late 2019, Shooters’ owner Lauren Boebert, who was quoted in the True story above, announced she is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, challenging fellow Republican Scott Tipton, who has held the seat for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district since 2011.

Boebert says if elected, she will fight for “freedom, personal responsibility and the Constitution.” She notes that “If AOC [Democratic U.S. Representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] can be one person and direct the narrative for an entire nation, then doggone so can I.”

(Source: Denver Post)

Boebert handily beat incumbent Tipton in the primary, the first primary challenger to defeat a sitting U.S. House Representative in Colorado in 48 years, and then beat former state representative Diane Mitsch Bush by 6 percentage points in the 2020 general election. But for 2024, she moved to a different district to avoid a strong opposition. She won that primary, and we’ll see what’s next.

Meanwhile, someone bought the building her restaurant was in, and refused to renew her lease.

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31 Comments on “Shooters Grill

  1. The person making the comment must not be a long time subscriber. I am and if you post I believe it. Keep up the great work and thanks for it all.

    Actually, he is a long-time subscriber. But as I noted, I’m not sure if he was REALLY questioning the veracity of the story. -rc

  2. We need more rational businesses like this one. They don’t just make a great political and social statement, they back it up the RIGHT way by hosting training courses as well. Thanks Shooters Grill!

    On the flip side, right after Target announced they wanted to be “family friendly” by asking folks to NOT legally carry where it is allowed, there are increasing reports of Target shoppers facing armed robbers. Disarming the victim is psychotic behavior and NOT family friendly.

  3. When in high school I worked at Bill Johnson’s Big Apple in Phoenix. Part of the waitress uniform was (and still is) a six gun in holster. Many were BB guns, but some were real firearms, and the women who carried knew how to use them.

  4. Actually, he is a long-time subscriber. But as I noted, I’m not sure if he was REALLY questioning the veracity of the story. -rc

    But just enough uncertainty to justify making the trip, right? 😉

    Well, we were driving right by anyway…. -rc

  5. After I had introduced a Berkeley, CA, cop friend of mine to muzzleloading rifle shooting, and he had attended his first Rendezvous (a several days long competition, usually held in a remote location), he made the comment that he had “never seen so many civilians carrying so many rifles, handguns, knives and tomahawks” and “being so peaceful!”

    A few years later a group of Hells Angles rode up from the Bay Area to crash the dance that the town put on for us…and they behaved themselves like the gentlemen (and ladies) that they were not, once they had seen the amount of “iron” that the other dance attendees were packing.

  6. I can see why “people like you” carry…Pretty much Decorative, like the six-guns of old, but it’s still time we take people who cannot or will not BEHAVE with a gun nearby,& subject them to the Harshest Penalties it’s possible to enact. When parents refuse to parent, and a 12 or 15-yr-old resorts to guns instead of just “beating the heck outta…” like WE used to do, the only REAL Alternative is to cage up the shooter, permanently.They really DON”T know any better & cannot be taught the difference between Squirrel Hunting and Murder!!!!

    ALSO,there is NO CONCEIVABLE REASON that something called an ASSAULT Weapon should EVER leave the hands of Law Enforcement!!!

    I’m unclear who you’re addressing with “people like you”. Also, the name of something has nothing to do with its function. There is NO accepted definition of “assault weapon”. Sometimes, rifles are called that just because they’re black. -rc

  7. I am glad to hear civilians are better shots than the police, I’ve heard of 40 shots fired and 1 wounded — doesn’t instill confidence. Neither does a Sheriff saying he can’t protect most people in his area.

    I am not interested in guns nor do I ever want to own one, but I am not an extremist either. Most people have the right to carry arms and I welcome any efforts to educate people about something so lethal as a gun.

    If I ever get back to western Colo. I will have to stop and eat there. 😉

    The sheriff is simply being honest: court after court after court has made it clear that citizens do not have any right to protection from law enforcement. There has been lawsuit after lawsuit, and they lose every time. In fact, the only right we have in the matter was mentioned by that sheriff: “People have the absolute constitutional right to protect themselves.” Isn’t it nice that we are allowed the tools necessary for that protection, since that’s the only protection we can depend on. -rc

    • I don’t understand (and never will). If law enforcement has no legal obligation to protect citizens, what on Earth do we have law enforcement for?

      The two things police were designed for: to gather evidence to prosecute law-breakers, and to do paperwork so victims can get insurance coverage. No one has even been entitled to bodyguards. Well, no regular people, anyway! -rc

  8. Crystal,

    The term “assault weapon” has no existence in reality; it was invented by the so-called gun control people to scare people who didn’t know that it was meaningless noise. Actual assault “rifles” are real, but they have been tightly controlled under the National Firearms Act of 1934; that was the last year a civilian could buy a fully automatic weapon without a special — and very hard to get — permit from the federal government.

    What the gun control people mean by “assault rifle” is the modern sporting rifle (MSR), the most popular rifle in this country for nearly four decades. These look superficially like military assault rifles, but they do not function in the same way. They are no more, nor less, dangerous than Granpappy’s deer rifle.

    The next time you hear someone talk about “assault weapons” remember they are either misinformed or actively trying to deceive you for their own purposes: “There ain’t no such animal!”

    And to clarify, “fully automatic” means “machine gun” — one trigger pull fires multiple rounds, up to every one loaded into the weapon, and that kind of weapon is highly regulated. Even that, though, doesn’t have the legal term “assault weapon” applied to it. -rc

  9. I continue to be amazed at the gun culture in the US. Of course, each society has the right to determine their own laws, but I would hate to live in a society where people routinely carried guns. It feels like a hostile environment and totally alien to me. How far does the right go? If I have the right to bear arms, should I be able to buy and possess a SAM anti aircraft missile? If not, why not?

    Of course it’s alien to someone in the U.K.! But if you read my brief essay, you’ll note I was totally comfortable. Your task is to think about it and understand why. Hint: If you can deal with the police being armed, you should be more comfortable with trained, legal civilian carry. I did write an essay especially for those outside the U.S. which you should read, the “Guns in America: Why?” — the second in the “Related Entries” section. -rc

  10. I guess you forgot the part about how most gun murders and accidents involve family members or friends. We have to stop glorifying guns in this country. No waitress needs to be carrying a gun. The whole idea is absurd.

    Most gun murders involve gang-on-gang violence. If you wish to call those “friends” that’s your privilege, but it is incorrect. -rc

  11. Since I read about this in last weeks This is True, I’ve been wondering how long (or short) for some obliviot criminal to walk in, pull out a cheap handgun, and try to rob the store — then get a hell of a shock when all the staff and a good many customers point their guns at him.

    Down here we can’t get a licence to carry a gun unless in an industry where it’s needed (like an armed guard), thus only the criminals go armed, and often with military standard automatic weapons now since they cost almost the same as a simple hand gun on the black market.

    I wish the owner and staff of Shooters all the best, I hope they can organise a franchise near me.

    Readers in other countries should consider that Australia disarmed several years ago after a mass shooting. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but now “only the criminals go armed, and often with military standard automatic weapons” — machine guns. Civilians are disallowed from defending themselves from that. This is what the “pro-gun” lobby in the U.S. want to avoid at all costs, and I can’t say that I blame them one bit. I want the option to defend my family — from criminals and wildlife. -rc

  12. Thank you Randy for dispelling the myths of gun violence touted by the anti gun advocates and some of those that commented here.

    It amazes me how often anti gun advocates and those that believe whatever they read use misinformation, hearsay and out and out lies to further their cause.

    When present by facts the anti gun advocates stumble and outright ignore the proven argument.

    The fact has been proven time and time again there are more guns then ever and the lowest gun violence in the last 40 years. The MAJORITY of gun violence as you pointed out is gang related. The tragedies of mass shootings and school shootings has NOT increase it is basically flat over time given population increase in the US.

    Gun control has shown ZERO effect on gun violence take Chicago the most restrictive city in the country has one of the highest gun violence stats.

  13. The incident that resulted in the honest people of Australia being disarmed was the April 1996 Port Arthur Shooting which resulted in major law changes later that year; 18 years ago. The real issue many had with the situation was the three weapons he used (AR10, AR15, USAS-12) were already unlawful to own in most Australian states, they only needed to tighten up in Tasmania and another state. Bryant was only stopped when someone else with a gun (the police) turned up and stopped him. If there had been one armed citizen on site at the early shootings he’d have been stopped a lot quicker.

    Gun violence by criminals has been growing a lot since the general population were disarmed. Drive-by shootings and inter-gang wars have increased as the larger US gangs have sent splinter groups over here to establish new territories to control, and the older gangs decided to increase their areas of control as well.

    The voice of experience in recent gun control notes that “Gun violence by criminals has been growing a lot since the general population were disarmed.” That’s a lesson that should not be lost on other countries! Thanks for the details. -rc

  14. In Australia, you can also acquire a handgun legally as a sporting shooter. It is a lengthy process.

    First it takes about 12 months to be able to acquire a handgun here!

    You need to get a police check after completing a form with a valid reason for needing a handgun (in my case to be in a pistol club and shoot competitions). After a few weeks they send you a certificate which allows you to join a pistol club as long as you have two referees.

    I am going through range school. Two shoots of 50 rounds after a 3 hour safety lecture and practice the first time then an hour on the second time. Next week I do my final range school shoot and can start getting coaching in the various pistol disciplines. I need my license before I am allowed to just turn up and shoot at a comp without someone licensed at my side.

    To get into the pistol club building I have to sign a club register and a police register which can be used to audit my actual involvement with the club. We have to maintain a participation log book which is required to renew your gun license once you get it.

    After six months pistol club membership and completion of a full day safety course (in addition to range school and the training in each shooting discipline) I can apply for a handgun license. This takes about 3 months to issue. At that point you can get your club to provide you with a permit to acquire a weapon (you have to decide which one you want). Some clubs take longer than others to issue these permits and a new shooter can get an air pistol quicker than a semi auto. You then take your permit to the dealer or buy it from your club. Then you register your gun with the police.

    Oh, I forgot, your gun safe has to be inspected to ensure it satisfies the law. Solid and bolted to the building with minimum lock requirements etc.

    You are allowed to store your gun at home and carry it in a locked box in the vehicle to your shooting club and back home, and that’s about it. You must also have your gun license (photo id) with you at all times when you have your gun.

    New shooters can only acquire an air pistol and one other handgun in their first year. The pistol can’t be higher than 0.47 inch calibre unless you are shooting black powder weapons.

    You have to participate in 6 events in a year to keep your license and 4 in each class for which you hold weapons.

    Dang! You guys have it easy!

    Let me know when you’re stateside, mate — you can shoot in my yard. No permit, police permission, or logbook required. But I do require you to listen to a safety briefing, and accept the rules! -rc

  15. In reply Randy, I did understand that you were totally comfortable, and I understood the point you made regarding the statistics for civilian vs police shootings. The point you make about “if you are comfortable with the police being armed” is my point. I am NOT comfortable with the police being routinely armed and the police in the UK are not. My brother is a policeman and was armed in his previous post, but he was one of a very small proportion of the officers in the UK.

    With regard to the statistics relating to gun control, both sides present statistics favourable to their case. There are societies around the world with very high gun ownership levels and very low gun death rates, such as Switzerland. Equally, there are also countries with very low gun ownership levels with very low gun death rates and criminals are not running rampant with guns and killing everyone in sight.

    My point was not about statistics. This argument is not about numbers, it is as much about culture and how we see the relationship between government and citizen.

    My last “shot” if I may. I foray into this debate only occasionally. I have learned that this is one of those highly polarised debates and I am not sure that there is much listening going on, on either side of the debate. But I have noted… I often raise the issue of where the “right to bear arms” reaches its limit… I rarely if ever get an answer. Do I, as a citizen, have the right to own missiles, tanks, machine guns, even nuclear warheads? If the answer is no, then surely the debate is simply about where to draw the line. My threshold is low… I feel comfortable in a restaurant where the wait staff are unarmed. Your threshold is higher, you feel comfortable in a restaurant where the wait staff are armed. That is fine..but are you equally comfortable if the wait staff have hand grenades, missiles and machine guns?

    Thanks for your follow-up. We are in total agreement that there is a culture issue here. The issue truly isn’t guns, it’s a violent culture, and we both live in one. Take away the guns and the violence remains. We need to address violence.

    As far as your other point, it’s an interesting question. If indeed part of the idea of the Second Amendment is to ensure citizens have the power to overthrow a corrupt government, and I agree that is part of the point, then doesn’t it follow that civilians should be allowed “any” weapon that the government “of the people” has? I can certainly see both sides, and haven’t personally decided if there is a line, and where to draw it. But I can say that I’m certainly “uncomfortable” with civilians with nuclear warheads, which indicates there is a line somewhere. -rc

  16. Getting back to the original question, Rifle is indeed a town. Some decades back it was a central area for oil shale exploration/exploitation/experimentation. May be again someday.

  17. I’ll be in Meeker at the end of this month to babysit grandkids. You’ve given me an excuse to go to Rifle, Randy!

    I can recommend the “G9” burger! -rc

  18. Just for the record I’ve never doubted your veracity. But it gave you a chance to open an interesting discussion, and I’m glad you enjoyed your burger.

    I remember when I first subscribed — back in the days of slow 8-bit computers and links through bulletin board links — I forwarded a ‘news’ story to you which you thoroughly and politely debunked for me at great length.

    I was impressed by the time you took, and you opened my eyes to the way some ‘news’ stories can be written to be high on effect and low on solid facts. ‘Low fibre’ reporting 😉

    I’m glad to hear I was polite. Sometimes, after the Nth submission of something, I get a little exasperated….

    We were driving by Shooters anyway, so thanks for the excuse to write about it a little more. 🙂 -rc

  19. Which country has the greatest number of guns in civilian hands per head of population?

    Which country has the lowest gun crime?

    More important, which country has the toughest penalties for illegal use of a gun?

    Do I own a gun?

    Would I like to?

    It all comes down to what I’ve been saying for years: the issue isn’t guns (or knives or bricks or baseball bats) but rather a society that tends toward, even glorifies, violence. We’ve got it here. They don’t seem to in Switzerland. It would be interesting to learn why. -rc

    • I came across this article a couple of days ago. Seems pretty relevant to this query.

      In Illinois, even living there on a work visa (I’m a Canadian), it was quite easy to get a FOID card and go to shooting ranges.

  20. You didn’t provide the address but with some digging I found the location, added it to my bucket list. Goo maps says it’s on a block between a gun store (shrug) and a day spa-salon named “Blown Away” (!!!). Funny!

    I didn’t notice either one, but then we weren’t really looking. It’s a quaint small-town street, though. -rc

  21. There’s a saying that goes, “An armed society is a polite society.” I’m curious if you noticed whether or not you noticed such an affect of this dictum on the atmosphere of the restaurant.

    The 2 vs. 11 statistic is not about shooting accuracy, but about shooting the wrong person. The theory is that those who are present when trouble begins (civilians) have a much more accurate understanding of who the actual perpetrator is than those who arrive in the midst of an active scene (police). But there is also the fact that civilians who choose to carry are often more motivated to actually practice than a significant percentage of the police officers who only shoot once a year for qualification.

    Your opening question, then, is, “Was the story’s tagline true?” or “Is Heinlein correct?” Sure. That said, I rarely see people being rude to waitresses, so I don’t know if they were “Small town polite” or “Scared of the gun polite.” I’d venture it was more the former. -rc

  22. We are in Meeker babysitting the grandkids while the kids go on an anniversary trip, so we took advantage of the situation and headed to Rifle yesterday. Shooters was packed, and there were people waiting. We finally got a table, and sat there for ten minutes with nary a menu placed in front of us, so we went across the street to Base Camp. I was disappointed at not being able to eat at Shooters, but Base Camp was pretty tasty too. Fish & Chips was the special du jour, so we both ordered that. The plate had two HUGE pieces of breaded and deep fried fish, fries, and some of the best coleslaw I’ve had. Next time we’ll hit Shooters.

    Beyond the restaurant review, I didn’t realize that the concealed carry permit offered at Shooters is valid not only in Colorado, but in my home state of Utah, as well as more than half the country. I grew up with guns, but aside from a brief two-month relationship with a Glock 9mm, haven’t owned a gun for over three decades. But you’re right — I felt absolutely safe there.

    Just to clarify, the Secretaries of State of the various states have agreements in place to (usually) honor the concealed carry permits of other states who honor theirs, aka “reciprocity.” Obviously, not all states do recognize them, hence you have to look to see which states do before traveling. There are several “reciprocity maps” online to help find this, for example here. -rc

  23. Giving this a bump because it just got mentioned in True. A bit of misinformation there from Australia.

    Guns only got taken out of cities, here in the country just about everyone including me owns guns. You need to own more than 40 acres or know someone who will write a letter saying you can hunt on his/her property.

    Also you need to have a license which will be taken off you if you’re depressed, criminal history etc.

    Yes, the serious criminals still have them, but your 16 year old armed robber probably only has a knife.

    I travel in the US a lot and I think the biggest difference is the worry about accidents, or that things might escalate too quickly.

    Here no one gets drunk and shoots someone, kids don’t accidentally get their parent’s pistols. And we don’t have desperate criminals with guns. They know they are better off coming quietly than escalating it to a shoot out.

    I like guns, and if I lived in the US I’d probably carry, but Australia is better off with them regulated.

    • Here, accidents notwithstanding, about 10,000 lives per year are lost to the criminal misuse of firearms. Most of it is inter-gang.

      Estimates on the proper use of firearms in self-defense are between 600,000 and 1.2 million times per year.

      That tells me that, from a utilitarian perspective, the positive aspects of private firearm possession and use far outweigh the negative.

      Additionally, courts from the local to the Supreme Court of the United States have ruled that police have no duty to protect the “public at large” or any individual. Not that most officers won’t do their best to help, but, typically, they’re not there when stuff goes down.

      As they say: When seconds count, police are minutes away.

  24. Since Switzerland was mentioned, here is a comparison between CH and the US. While it is in German, the stats can be understood in any language, I hope.

    And like one Swiss politician said: We know what weapons can do, so we respect them.

  25. It looks to me like the gun control in Australia is helping to prevent death and violence. What is wrong with registering guns in the US? We register cars and license drivers. What about waiting periods to buy a gun?

    I Am a Sikh and Sikhs have a long history of using weapons. In India some Sikhs come armed to the teeth when they enter temples. However Sikhs are taught to use a weapon as a last resort and that is often not the case in the US. Usually Sikhs will refuse to bring out their weapon when someone wants to look at it or will bring it to their forehead as a sign of respect for the weapon and what it can do. People in the US have a right to have firearms. People also have a right to live and not be injured by weapons. We need some common sense regulations to prevent murders and not knee jerk reactions that it is a right to own a gun and schools around the country are worried about a mass shooting at their school.

    As this is a fairly old post, you likely won’t get much in the way of meaningful replies here. You might read through the “Related” post linked at the bottom, Guns in America: Why? — and particularly the many comments on that page which explore many of the issues you wonder about. -rc

  26. In 2024, there are no British trying to take back our country, and a comparison of U.S. and countries where personal ownership of guns has been severely restricted or banned outright, should bring most rational people to their senses. One mass shooting in Australia and the govt. took about a week to ban guns and virtually eliminate mass killings that we now hear about several times a week. We are not yet a totalitarian society but with the proliferation of guns and the mindset of half of Americans, we are on our way.


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