It appears the majority of bar owners and owners of restaurants that serve alcohol in and around Greenwood are OK with recently signed legislation that allows gun owners who also possess state-issued concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons inside their establishments. At least, that is the gist of a story the Index-Journal published Tuesday.
This newspaper previously expressed its reservations about the law while acknowledging the vast majority of CWP holders are law-abiding residents who are not likely to engage in some sort of gun warfare while enjoying a meal out with friends and family, or get into a gunfight while tossing down a couple of beers while watching TV in a sports bar.
We still hold onto that belief, but we also still hold onto our belief that in the long run, mixing alcohol and guns is a potentially dangerous cocktail to serve the public. Again, for the record, we do believe most CWP holders will abide by the law. Key word: most. Let’s be honest here. Most drivers obey traffic laws too, but most drivers also exceed the speed limit from time to time. Many otherwise calm and law-abiding drivers even occasionally engage in road rage. The point is, owning a concealed weapons permit does not automatically guarantee nothing will go awry in all situations inside bars and restaurants.

And if we are going to be honest about all this, let’s also admit there are some establishments — bars especially — the majority of law-abiding residents would not even enter. They’re already concerned concealed weapons are on plenty of persons inside, the majority of whom do not carry legally to begin with. Those are the spots where one nearly expects guns to be fired at any given moment. Do we want to add to the mix? In Greenwood, at least, those bars often wind up being shut down by city authorities.
Still, do we want to take chances? People’s judgment often deteriorates in drinking situations. CWP holders, under this new law, are not supposed to be drinking while carrying, but that does not preclude the possibility of a CWP holder mistaking a situation in a bar and firing a round in what he believes is self-defense or in defense of another when all along the situation was nothing more than a bunch of folks horsing around.
The new law is in place and so it will be up to establishment owners to decide whether they want to post signs telling CWP holders they cannot carry their weapons inside. It is also up to CWP holders to decide whether they want to carry, despite the law allowing them to do so. Owners of bars and restaurants who ultimately decide to post signs barring CWP holders from entering with their weapons on their side will, for all intents and purposes, defeat the purpose of the legislation anyway. In the interim, we will all simply have to wait and see whether the legislation is a good idea.
One other point of interest with respect to the new legislation arose from Tuesday’s story. We find it a bit disconcerting that some bar and restaurant owners were completely unaware of the legislation. News leading up to and after passage was aplenty, to include via a number of front-page stories published by this newspaper. That might be about as scary as — well — guns in bars.