You Can Bring a Gun into a Restaurant in 49 States

image via the Chattanooga Pulse


Ohio recently  became the latest state to open its bar and restaurant doors to gun-toting customers. Ohio joins four other states, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia, that enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars, while 17 other states allow weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol. The status is fuzzy in another 20 states, including New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, where legislatures have not explicitly addressed the question; by default they are allowing their residents to carry guns into establishments that serve alcohol.

These laws are the latest wave in the country’s gun debate, and represent progress made by the gun lobby as it seeks, state by state, to expand the realm of guns in everyday life. They follow last year’s Supreme Court rulings affirming that citizens have an individual right to keep a loaded handgun for self defense. The rulings opened a floodgate of lawsuits challenging various state gun laws. Some of the most extreme proposals have come from gunslinging Governor Rick Perry who thinks Texans should always come to the table strapped, even when that table is in a school cafeteria.

The laws in most states allow people licensed to carry concealed weapons to take them into taverns, hotels, and restaurants. Armed customers are not supposed to drink, although that’s little comfort to servers and bartenders, many of whom feel that the mix of guns and alcohol-emboldened customers creates an unsafe work environment. Bars and restaurants are free to post signs banning weapons, but compliance can be iffy, with local gun-carry forums springing up to point out loopholes, and of course the weapons are concealed in the first place.

The logic of the madhouse
On November 1, when Governor Scott Walker signs Wisconsin’s Personal Protection Act into law, Illinois will be the nation’s last hold-out; the only state to prohibit the  carrying of guns into restaurants. It’s a sad day when a state’s General Assembly thinks its citizens need to carry weapons to be safe in restaurants.

We know that alcohol and firearms are a dangerous mix, but we seem to have lost touch with common sense on this life-and-death issue.

Keep up with the latest gun legislation with the public interest law center Legal Community Against Violence.

The NRA website has an interactive, state-by-state map of current firearm laws.




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One Response to You Can Bring a Gun into a Restaurant in 49 States

  1. Pingback: The Big Question: To Conceal or Not to Conceal | Give Me Liberty

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