We had family guests over for dinner Sunday night, and the conversation turned to gun rights (it wasn’t my fault, I swear). One of the topics that came up was “guns in bars”, as a relative had heard of what was likely the recent changes in the law in Tennessee, though Virginia’s silliness in regards to carry in a licensed establishment came up as well. Long and short of it, he came down on the side of banning carry in bars due to “drunks and yahoos” (paraphrased). When pressed to define what a “bar” was, he said “any licensed establishment”. When I queried about carrying in the dining room of, say, TGIFriday’s, he would have that forbidden as well.
Forbidding carriage of firearms in licensed establishments sounds superficially reasonable. After all, we’ve seen “that guy” who gets belligerent and rowdy after a few. But not everyone is “that guy”. Heck, most people in the dining room aren’t drinking at all; and not everyone in the bar itself are drinking to impairment. Banning legal carriage of firearms in a licensed establishment, or even an out-and-out bar, makes about as much sense as banning the carriage of keys into the same establishment in the name of preventing drunken driving. Drunks kill far more people with cars than they do with guns, but we recognize (mostly) that it is the act of drinking and driving that should be punished, not the car or the booze.
The most that a ban on guns in bars can do is make “that guy” go out to his car, for the gun in his glove compartment, or the tire iron, etc. Worst-case scenario is something similar to the Luby’s massacre, where “one more ban” failed to stop a killer, but disarmed someone who could have stopped him.
I have little issue with a properly owner posting their property as off-limits to firearms being carried by a person, it’s their property; as long as they’re willing to take the responsibility of defending my person while I cannot. I wonder how many would, though, considering the signs above every coat rack, and around most parking lots, I see that say “management is not responsible for lost or stolen items” . I choose not to leave my coats on racks I cannot see, and I don’t leave anything valuable in my car when parked.
I understand that the fight against allowing carry in bars in Tenessee is being led, in large part, by a bar owner who wants to make sure his competitors are forced to ban the carriage of firearms into their own establishments, so his prejudices don’t cost him business. Which is too bad – if he wants to limit his clientele, he can do so. Chik-Fil-A famously closes on Sundays, but the last I checked they don’t lobby for a nationwide Blue Law. The big national chain restaurants have differing policies on acceptance of firearms in restaurants, but they mostly appear to follow Starbuck’s lead on pushing for policies (IE, they don’t at all).