More States Allowing Guns in Bars

That’s the title to this provocative article (written by Malcolm Gay) appearing in The New York Times this week.

He writes:

Happy-hour beers were going for $5 at Past Perfect, a cavernous bar just off this city’s strip of honky-tonks and tourist shops when Adam Ringenberg walked in with a loaded 9-millimeter pistol in the front pocket of his gray slacks.

Mr. Ringenberg, a technology consultant, is one of the state’s nearly 300,000 handgun permit holders who have recently seen their rights greatly expanded by a new law — one of the nation’s first — that allows them to carry loaded firearms into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

The article features a Tennessee bar. Here, in Georgia, my firm represents scores of “cavernous” bars and nightclubs, including those that feature nude dance entertainment. As Mr. Gay notes, Tennessee is one of four states, along with Arizona, Georgia and Virginia, that recently enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars. A reasonable person might ask, Are these laws a good idea?

Under Tennessee’s new law, gun permit holders are not supposed to drink alcohol while carrying their weapons. Mr. Ringenberg washed down his steak sandwich with a Coke.

But critics of the law say the provision is no guarantee of safety, pointing to a recent shooting in Virginia where a customer who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon shot himself in the leg while drinking beer at a restaurant.

Which brings me to an observation: Some of the state governments that allow guns in establishments that serve alcoholic beverages, are the same state governments that don’t allow nude dancing in those establishments. Take Missouri’s yin and yang, for example.

So which is more dangerous: Guns in bars, or Buns in bars?

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