Mike Adams

1. Restaurant/bars where there is frequent drunkenness and occasional violence.
2. Restaurant/bars where there is occasional drunkenness but not violence.
3. Restaurants where there is alcohol but no drunkenness or violence.

The first type of restaurant/bar is easy to deal with. If the government relaxes the ban on handguns in bars then such a business still has a right to post a sign saying "no handguns." If there is a history of brawls in the establishment then there is little chance the owner will refrain from posting such a sign. In the absence of a flat-out government ban on handgun possession in such places, there is still civil liability for owners who chose to allow them. And, obviously, concealed weapons permit holders are the kinds of people who have the good sense to avoid such places. They don't need a sign to trigger their avoidance instincts, please pardon the pun.

The third type of restaurant/bar listed above is also easy to deal with. If I'm going into Moe's Southwestern Grill for a lunchtime burrito, there's really no need to pack heat. It's not like the guys shouting "Welcome to Moe's" are all that frightening to me. But that's not the point. The point is that those who are carrying before entering such establishments have no real reason to take a trip to the car to dispose of their firearms. There will be no drunken brawl in Moe's. But these establishments are open after dark. So it’s best to have your firearm on you as you traverse the parking lot as opposed to having it waiting for you in your locked truck. Surely, liberals really cannot think they are saving the world by banning firearms from such establishments. Keep reading and I promise I'll stop calling you "Surely."

It's the second type of restaurant/bar listed above that poses the most difficult questions for owners and patrons. If there is no history of violence at the bar (but there are people getting drunk) then there is still potential liability. Furthermore, patrons who know of no violence at the bar (but see people getting drunk there) might not like the idea that the bar allows guns. Thus, they may decide to stop going there, which may, in turn, provide a financial incentive for the owner to ban guns voluntarily. In other words, the free market may well dictate the very same result the government wants. But the owners have a choice. And so do the patrons who are not forced to doing anything by government fiat.

Throughout all the bad discourse in the public debate over the "guns in bars" issue, a major point has been obscured; namely that there is still absolutely no right to carry for those who have even a single drop of alcohol in their system. That absolute rule applies to the constable and citizen alike.

To be fair, local advocates of gun control were right about something when they raised the "guns in bars" issue earlier this year. They predicted that after the new gun laws took effect in October there would be a drastic increase in gun violence in the downtown bar district of my hometown Wilmington, North Carolina. Unfortunately, that prediction has indeed come to pass.

But the downtown Wilmington violence has taken a slightly different form than the gun grabbers anticipated. For one thing, the shootings have taken place quite literally in the streets of downtown Wilmington, not inside of bars. Furthermore, the disputes have revolved around the distribution of drugs, not the consumption of alcohol.

Perhaps most importantly, none of this recent violence has been perpetrated by 5'6" actress/models who seek to protect themselves from sexual assault by getting concealed weapons permits. It has been perpetrated by young males whose fathers have been replaced by government welfare checks. No one wants to talk about that unpleasant reality. That's the real reason the discussion is dominated by sound bites.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.