The editorial board at theintelligencer.net doesn’t like the idea of West Virginians with a concealed carry permit exercising their Second Amendment rights at a restaurant. Any restaurant. “We have been staunch supporters of Second Amendment rights for many years – but that does not require abandoning all common sense.” A certain Mr. Thomas Paine must be rolling over in his grave. The gun control movement continues to usurp the title of his pamphlet arguing against tyranny to argue for tyranny. Shouldn’t West Virginia’s restaurant owners, upon who private property their establishment sits, be the arbiters of whether or not their patrons are permitted to pack heat? Apparently not, because . . .
Law enforcement officials don’t like the idea. Guns and intoxication don’t mix, they point out. They are right on target. Alcohol loosens inhibitions and impairs good judgment. And, as responsible gun owners know, even mild intoxication limits the ability of shooters to place a bullet where they aim.
Even many restaurant owners oppose the bill. They don’t want patrons to worry about whether the fellow who’s had too much wine with dinner may be a threat to their safety.
There is a familiar theme here: infantilization. Gun owners are children who must be protected from themselves. For their good and the good of society. It’s a profoundly elitist perspective that’s fundamentally dangerous to the health and well-being of a free society.
This “Nanny State” thinking extends to the argument itself. Notice that “many restaurant owners oppose the bill.” Not “most” or “a majority” or “51.7 percent.” The writer wishes to marshal a “force of numbers” argument without deigning to provide those numbers. He could have said “many intelligent owners oppose the bill,” but then readers would see the condescension behind the curtain.
Nor does the writer mention the fact that under the bills, restaurant owners would remain free to prohibit concealed carry customers. Which is, to be fair, a bit of a conundrum. How can you ban something you can’t see? While expensive to implement, any such optional ban would be no more effective than . . . the current state of affairs. Huh.
Supporters of the measure say it would not allow those carrying guns to be served alcohol in bars and restaurants. Just how are waiters and bartenders supposed to enforce that? Remember, we’re talking about concealed carrying of firearms.
Good point. So why is that provision in the bill? It’s nothing more than more gun control theater: a meaningless sop to the bills’ opponents that actually weakens the central argument for lifting the ban: we are not children. We are not a nation of children. We expect each individual to take personal responsibility for his or her actions.
You want common sense? Why isn’t it a crime to carry a loaded weapon while intoxicated in West Virginia?
[FYI: the following states do not have a law specifically prohibiting carrying a loaded weapon while intoxicated: Alabama, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia.]
I’m not saying that I’m 100 percent down with such a law. Libertarian that I am, I reckon intoxication is best left as an add-on charge to another infraction—to prevent the jack-booted practice of sobriety-checking road blocks.
Can I imagine cops searching customers as they emerge from a restaurant or restaurant district to ensure that none of them are carrying a gun while intoxicated? I can. And I don’t like it.
In any case, West Virginia’s motto is Montani Semper Liberi (Mountains Always Free) not Mater Cogito Primus (Mother knows best).