I don’t get out much. Part of that is habit. Part comes from being self-employed. Part comes from being a single dad. And part is frankly that the only time I hang around bars is when I’m booked there with my band. (I’m a militant non-smoker, and I don’t drink much, either.) But there’s a couple of things I can say about bars – most of them are in less-than-wonderful parts of town, and most of their parking lots look to my Condition Yellow-trained eyes as wonderful locations for a mugging. Now I’ve never been in a bar fight. Never been mugged outside a bar (or in an alley behind a bar, which is usually where I have to load in/load out if I’m playing). But as they say in the financial services industry, “past performance does not insure future results.”
I’m planning on a night out, tonight. A friend is playing at (of all places) a biker bar. (Not the kind of place you’d expect to find a female singer-songwriter, but still…) And it’s seriously a place where I’d feel a LOT more comfortable with a gun. But I shall be going sans-semi-auto tonight, because of what I consider to be a serious deficiency in the conceal carry statues.
Everyone knows guns n’ alcohol don’t mix, right? I mean, neither does drinking and driving. But just if you’re going to get to a bar, SOMEbody’s gotta drive (full disclosure: I’m usually the “designated driver” in my crowd when I DO go out), you’d assume that responsible non-drinkers might be able to carry in a bar. And you’d be wrong.
The irony of the conceal carry laws across the nation, is that they assume that carrying in an establishment that sells liquor is a hugely bad idea. So they’ve added a codicil (love that word) to prohibit concealed carry inside an establishment that earns 51% or better of it’s daily coin from the sale of adult beverages. Sounds reasonable…on the surface. I mean, why encourage people to mix guns with alcohol.
Of course, another part of the law states that ANY use of a firearm when consuming alcohol is just cause for imprisonment, fines, and the loss of your cherished concealed carry permit. So in a way, a ban on guns in bars is overkill. Unfortunately, it also sets up a situation where every bar (and some restaurants) become “Gun Free Zones” (read: “Target-Rich Environments”).
Think of it this way: let’s say a bad guy or two wanna get hammered. They are carrying guns – and don’t bother with the niceties of conceal carry permits. (They are bad guys – the rules are only for good guys, remember?) They get wasted and belligerent. And they know that the law-abiding people in the bar are NOT carrying firearms. So, unless the barkeep has a shotgun behind the counter, they should expect zero resistance from anybody, should they decide to shoot up the joint.
In the Great State of Texas, we call this law the thirty-ought-six law. Not because of the classic rifle caliber, but because it’s section 30.6 in the law. (Ironies abound. You have but to look for them.) It provides for the wording of signs that indicate who can – and who can’t – carry.
I’d like to see the law amended so that no matter where you are, if you’re sober and have a CHL, you can carry. (In point of fact, this is now the law in Arizona.) Since I’m willing to sick with soft drinks, I’d like to be able to carry in bars where I perform. Not because I’m worried about some pinhead jackin’ the place or deciding to go all Medieval on the place, but because I don’t wanna get mugged, taking my gear out to my car, after the gig. But I can’t legally do that, the way the laws are now written.
So on Day 5 of my concealed carry project, I’m not going to be carrying. Which is sad – and a little scary.