“Any time you have loaded weapons ready to fire, you increase the chance that someone will get shot. That can lead to accidents or shootings in the heat of the moment. Any argument can quickly escalate to a life-or-death situation if there’s a loaded gun.” That’s the argument against gun ownership, concealed carry and open carry, from Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In Arizona, that dog won’t hunt. As of July 29, qualified Copper State As residents over the age 21 can to carry a concealed gun without a permit. azstarnet.com reckons not everyone is happy with the change, and they were bound and determined to find someone who opposed the new gun regs. Hey, a jouralist’s gotta eat, right? Eateries wrestling with AZ gun laws starts with an angst appetizer . . .
Gloria DiCenco was chatting amiably with a few Italian speakers at Beyond Bread on North Campbell Avenue on April 20 when armed men began coming in.
First there were two, then more. Finally, maybe 20 people carrying holstered guns and, in some cases, ammunition, arrived and ordered food, DiCenco said. A hush fell over the restaurant, she said, and her group’s happy mood turned tense.
It happened that her Italian conversation club crossed paths with a group of local advocates of “open carry” – unconcealed carrying of firearms. And the open-carry advocates saw their Beyond Bread dinner quite differently – as noticeably unremarkable.
“That’s the whole point – nothing happened,” said J.D. “Duke” Schechter, who was among the group of gun carriers.
I guess scribe Tim Steller missed that one. As the story progresses, it’s clear that the article focuses on a simple question: to ban or not to ban? It’s equally clear that the answer in Arizona is “not.” In fact, Steller can’t find ONE example of an AZ bar or restaurant that’s down with despite the [out of state] Brady Bunch’s position. The best the jobbing journo can do: one that USED TO ban firearms.
Nelson Miller, owner of the Trident Grill, 2033 E. Speedway, put up such a sign last year. A retired Navy SEAL, Miller said he did so because “I don’t trust other people with them (guns) as much as I trust myself.”
But then he started talking to people who convinced him that the sign would not stop someone with evil intent from carrying a gun inside, and could make innocent people more vulnerable.
“The only person who cares about the rules is the guy who cares about the rules,” Miller said. “I would just simply lose customers who were abiding by the law.”
So what’s with the strum und drang about Open Carry at the top of the piece? ‘Cause Gloria DiCenco could well be the only person in Arizona who opposes “guns in bars.” Why?
DiCenco, the Beyond Bread customer, said allowing guns can harm a business, too.
“I found it was pretty hard to have fun and joke in a room where there’s a large group of people who are heavily armed.”
That’s it? That’s it. Except for a run-down of the rules:
• Guns in businesses: Arizona law does not explicitly permit or prohibit firearms in private businesses. But carrying a firearm into a private business might be considered trespassing if the business is clearly marked with a sign forbidding guns, especially if the gun carrier is asked not to enter while armed.
• Guns in bars: Establishments where alcohol is sold may permit firearms, but a person carrying a firearm in such a business may not consume alcohol. If the owner wishes to ban firearms, a sign with a specific design, wording and placement must be posted. The sign is available for downloading at the website of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, azliquor.gov/firearms.html
• Carrying a gun: As of July 29, anyone over 21 in Arizona may carry a gun, concealed or in the open, as long as the person is not a prohibited possessor, such as a felon or a visitor or student from another country.
• Where guns are prohibited: State law explicitly prohibits guns in certain places, most notably any posted government office, from the lowliest municipal building to the state Capitol, although they are now required to offer storage. Carrying a firearm is also prohibited on school grounds, at election polling places, and at hydroelectric or nuclear plants.