“To comply with state liquor rules, the world’s biggest retailer sent a written notice last month to stores that sell alcohol, telling managers to ensure that customers who openly carry firearms under a new law have licenses,” bloomberg.com (yes that Bloomberg) reports. “Cashiers or door greeters who see someone with a gun are to alert the highest-ranking employee, who is to approach the customer and ask to see the paperwork.” Focus your attention on the alcohol-selling bit . . .
Wal-Mart and other retailers that sell beer, wine and spirits fall under the authority of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which prohibits unlicensed handguns in establishments that offer such products for off-premises consumption. An establishment can lose its liquor license if it “knowingly allows” a person to bring an illegal firearm on the premises, said Chris Porter, spokesman for the agency.
Previously a shopper could have been walking the aisles with a concealed weapon — legal in Texas for two decades — and store clerks wouldn’t have known. Under the new law, the only way to ensure compliance is to ask a customer with a gun for a permit.
“Now that it’s open carry, that creates a new space that you have to cover,” said George Kelemen, chief executive officer of the Texas Retailers Association. Stores like Wal-Mart want “to make absolutely sure that the message they convey is, ‘We welcome your patronage, but we sell alcohol and we don’t want to risk losing the ability to do that.”’
Yeah, not feeling it. If a Walmart employee doesn’t know if an open carrier is carrying illegally, how can it be said that he or she “knowingly” allowed a person to bring an illegally held firearm onto the premises? To its credit, BloombergBusiness ends its piece with a tale of customer annoyance.
When 25-year-old Ashley Bravo de Rueda walked into a Wal-Mart in Wichita Falls on Sunday night to buy pacifiers for her infant son and dog food, she did so with her Bersa Thunder .380 pistol on her hip. Almost immediately she was approached by an employee.
“She said, ‘Ma’am, you are more than welcome to carry a gun like that, but I’m going to need to see your license,’” Bravo de Rueda recalled.
Startled by the encounter, Bravo de Rueda nonetheless pulled out her permit and proceeded to shop.
“The whole time I felt like I was looking over my shoulder,” she said. “To me, I’m lawfully carrying. I should not be stopped for something that I am not doing wrong.”
This sounds like a lawyer-driven policy -one that will lose the company business. Personally, I wouldn’t put up with it. You?