Posted by: goalpath | October 14, 2009

Are Guns in Bars and Restaurants A Good Idea?

 In June of this year, Tennessee legislators passed a new law allowing people with concealed carry permits to bring guns into bars and restaurants in that state. They had to override the Governor’s veto to get the law passed.  And last month, Arizona legislators enacted a similar bill allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons into bars and restaurants in their state. Needless to say, the National Rifle Association backed these bills and lobbied vigorously for their passage.

The right to carry firearms into establishments that serve alcohol exists in 41 states now. So this is not a new issue that has just surfaced in Arizona and Tennessee. And I am sure that in most of these states, the establishment can post signs forbidding customers from bringing firearms into those establishments, as they can in Arizona and Tennessee.

In Arizona, taking a gun into bar banning weapons is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a fine up to $500. Of course, there is a partial legal defense if the sign had fallen down, the person was not an Arizona resident or the sign had only been up for 30 days or less. There will always be loopholes.

In both states, patrons who are carrying weapons are not supposed to consume alcohol. I am not sure how they can be prevented from consuming alcohol if their weapons are concealed. I guess they will be operating on the honor system.

Even if the firearm bearing patrons don’t consume, their fellow patrons will be consuming and likely as not a dispute or argument could arise between an unarmed patron and a patron who is carrying. So what’s to keep a shootout from occurring in the bar or restaurant? It seems to me that we are creating a perfect venue for more gun violence.

According to J.P. Nelson, director of the NRA’s western region, “Bad things happen in bars and restaurants.” He went on to say, “People want to carry a gun and if the facility owner doesn’t have a problem with it, there shouldn’t be a problem. If a person starts drinking and gets into a shootout and kills someone, of course they’re subject to criminal prosecution.” Of course, I not sure the victim’s loved ones will feel all that comforted by the fact that the murderer will be brought to justice.

Now the NRA has its view on the subject, but I can’t say that Mr. Nelson’s statement increases my comfort level. I think every bar owner should be concerned about the consequences of allowing folks to bring guns into their establishments. I am all for the second amendment, but I believe allowing people to bring guns into bars and restaurants just doesn’t make much sense. Sure there are those folks who will say that without such laws the only people packing will be the bad seeds and criminals just itching for a gun fight. Sure, there will be those who will carry concealed weapons regardless of the laws.

So I guess the justification is that you need to protect yourself from all those bad guys who will be illegally carrying guns into these establishments. Personally, I don’t get it. I believe allowing anyone to carry firearms into establishments that serve alcohol is asking for trouble. Isn’t there enough gun violence already in America.

Sorry, I just couldn’t let this news story go by without putting in my two cents. I know there are a lot you out there who will take issue with my opinion. That is good. My web community, www.BoomerOpinion.com, is all about discussing issues like this one, so jump in and let me know how you feel about this issue.  We are always looking for new members who aren’t afraid to voice their opinions, so please join if you haven’t already.  And have a great week while you are at it.

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