Late last week the Tennessee legislature passed a law that will allow those with a carry permit to bring their weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol. Previously, this was against the law. There are some caveats though. The person carrying is not allowed to drink any alcohol at all (that is definitely reasonable). As always, signs posted by the restaurant owners can be used to prevent the legal carrying of weapons onto the property (those signs still won’t prevent illegal weapons though).
At the current point and time I’m glad that the law has been modified. I live in Bartlett, close to Memphis, and Memphis is a high crime area. I carry everywhere I go. I occasionally like to go out and eat with my wife and kids. Previously, I had to take some pretty big chances.
(1) Take my firearm in to the restaurant and hope it wasn’t spotted. If I was it could cost me a hefty fine or possibly the loss of my firearm and my permit.
(2) Leave my firearm in my car and pray that it was not broken in to while I was inside
(3) Leave my firearm at home
(4) Skip eating out altogether
Option (1) kept my family and I safe for the entire dining experience. Option (1) and (3) kept the gun from being stolen. Option (2) kept us safe while we were in the car, but not going between the car and the restaraunt (the most likely time to get robbed, etc) and it also put the gun itself at risk.
With these things in mind I am very pleased with the updated law. I know I will eat out more knowing I won’t have to leave my firearm that I almost always carry in my car. I don’t shop at stores where signs are posted that firearms are not allowed and I have no intentions of eating at such an establishment either. I know others feel equally strong in the opposite direction on this subject and all I can say is that as a responsible carry permit holder I strongly believe I am in the right on this one.
I read this comment the other day and thought it was about as true as it gets:
“… and yes if you sat next to me and my kids in McDonalds in the playground area, you were within 10 feet of a gun and never knew it. truthfully that was as safe as you and your kids could be without a police officer at the next table over.”