Friend or Foe, a new website that allows gun owners to track which businesses allow concealed firearms, has exploded in popularity, sparking a miniature gun rights campaign.
Invented by software designer Chris Walsh, the website allows concealed weapon carriers to post reviews of businesses. Companies that ban concealed weapons get a red pin, while a green pin means that the business is gun-friendly. Think of it like Yelp if Yelp were only concerned about the Second Amendment.
According to Frank Miniter of the National Review, Walsh originally built the website so that gun owners would be able to tell at a glance where they could and couldn’t carry a weapon. However, the website does have one unintended side effect: boycotts. Gun owners have been supporting their politics with their money by soliciting pro-gun businesses and boycotting establishments that ban firearms. “I never meant for this site to be used to persuade businesses to change their policies,” Walsh explained, but he’s warmed up to the idea. In fact, Walsh has personally given up Costco and Buffalo Wild Wings because of the businesses’ anti-gun policies.
One review on the site reads, “Another one of the anti-gun NOT Great American Restaurant Co. Don't give them one cent. If you open carry you will be kicked out.” In contrast, a restaurant with a green pin reads, “No issues when open carrying. Manager is very friendly. Good breakfast and lunch too.”
In order to make the switch from red to green, some business owners and managers have already revoked or clarified their gun policies. After posting a negative review, one user commented, “I have since received an apology from the CEO/President of the chain. He has done his homework and seen his manager was incorrect and taken steps to educate the staff that handguns ARE legal in the restaurant.”
Friend or Foe could stand to be a catalyst for change in the gun control debate, but whether the website will help or hinder gun rights is still anybody’s guess. Gun control advocates could just as easily use the website to reward businesses that ban guns and boycott those that don’t. The website clearly shows which businesses are for or against guns, but how users respond to these businesses is an entirely different matter.