The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence says two businesses owned by a state senator who has led efforts for stronger gun-safety laws have come "under attack from gun extremists upset by the passage of the large-capacity magazine ban."
The group is urging people to "please consider patronizing" Trinity Brewhouse and The Hot Club, both owned by Sen. Josh Miller, a Cranston Democrat.
"Senator Miller has supported us for years, and now it’s our turn to support him," the coalition says in a Facebook post. "Gun extremists are using gross tactics to attack his businesses, including making phony reservations, publishing fake one-star reviews, and verbally intimidating his employees."
Miller said, "There's always been a backlash. I have a history of sponsoring legislation."
"It goes away and comes back, but now it's come back," he said.
On Tuesday, Gov. Dan McKee signed into law bills that prohibit the possession of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, raise the age to buy a firearm or ammunition from 18 to 21, and prohibit people from openly carrying loaded rifles and shotguns in public.
Miller says he's aware of a recent Facebook post urging people to make no-show reservations at his restaurants. He says he's also been told his businesses have recently received poor online reviews from people who didn't appear to be actual customers.
Miller says he can't determine whether the tactics have affected business, since so many factors can affect business.
And, he noted, "There are a lot more supporters of this kind of legislation than those who are upset about it."
Still, he says, his employees have to deal with it, taking the phony phone calls for reservations and also wondering if their income will be affected by their boss's political involvement.
"Please consider patronizing Trinity Brewhouse and Hot Club of Providence to show your support for gun safety in Rhode Island," the coalition says in its Facebook post. "While there, be sure to thank the staff and let them know you appreciate the opportunity to patronize a business that supports making Rhode Island safer from gun violence."
Miller said, "The whole thing is unfortunate."
On Twitter: @jgregoryperry
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This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Gun rights supporters appear to target restaurants owned by RI senator