Editorial: Banning guns in bars a must for businesses

  • Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Legislators have done their damage – it’s now time for business owners to show the common sense lacking at the Statehouse. A new law approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley Tuesday allows for anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm inside a business that serves alcohol – as long as there isn’t a sign saying they can’t – and as long as they don’t drink.

It was wise to allow businesses to essentially opt out of the law’s provisions and give them the right to prohibit firearms.

It’s an opportunity that local bar owners will hopefully seize to alleviate a possibly volatile and deadly mix in their businesses.

Shoot outs along the streets of Aiken and across state shouldn’t be envisioned and law abiding gun owners shouldn’t be demonized. But combining alcohol with firearms doesn’t exactly help to lower one’s blood pressure when you sitting at the bar merely having a drink after work.

Yes, the law stipulates that you cannot drink alcohol while possessing a concealed weapon, but good luck enforcing that.

It’s not that surprising, but still disheartening to realize how quickly the bill moved through the state legislature.

The bill was introduced last year and only took a few months to receive bi-partisan support in the General Assembly and be signed into law by Haley. In the same legislative session, a bill that restructured state government – one that most virtually everyone would agree upgraded and improved how state government operated – was signed only this past month after decades of debate and late session drama.

The guns in bars law sadly does little to negate the state’s ranking as one of the leading states when it comes to gun violence and homicides.

Despite what proponents of the law have said, merely by allowing someone to have a concealed weapon doesn’t magically create a safe environment, especially when people are intoxicated. One of the aims of lawmakers appears to be wanting to allow residents to protect themselves, but how often will that be the case?

Mark Keel, the chief of the state’s law enforcement agency – SLED – even testified last year that guns and bars “do not mix.”

The intentions of the law are even more suspect with it calling for a reduction in the training requirements to get a concealed-weapons permit.

Bar owners obviously want to do what’s best for business. Prohibiting loaded weapons where alcohol is served should ultimately be an easy call.

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