By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about this:
North Carolina restaurant The Pit was robbed at gunpoint on Sunday. Normally, local crime stories like this wouldn't merit a Townhall post, but this one is different: The Pit has a "no weapons" sign displayed prominently on its door declaring the restaurant a gun-free zone, and bans patrons from carrying concealed weapons.Note in sign in the picture at the link.
Folks are already howling about the violation of the Constitutionally-proteted Second Amendment right to ‘keep and bear arms’, as well as others who are competitively howling that business owners aren’t bound to that Amendment, since they are not Congress, and ought to be allowed the freedom to conduct their business accordingly.
Warner Todd Huston has something to say about that:He also brings up state’s rights:
For one thing, the ship has sailed on the claim that owners of private property have free reign to do anything they want on their property. The Supreme Court has repeatedly, for instance, told business owners that they cannot discriminate against patrons based on their sex, race, creed et al. The law states that a mere store owner cannot hamper people’s civil and Constitutional rights just because they have private property rights. One right, in other words, does not trump all–or any single–other rights.
Therefore, it is perfectly logical to state that if a store cannot refuse to serve a gay or a person of a particular race or religion because this refusal violates their Constitutional rights, then a store owner cannot act to prevent a patron from observing their Second Amendment rights, either.
Speaking of legality, if the state says you are legally allowed to carry your firearm, how is it that a shop owner imagines he has the right to trump even state law?Something else about this kind of thing bugs the heck out of me, though. What would have happened had those armed thugs opened fire on the restaurant patrons and staff and injured and/or killed any of them? Could the owner be held liable for those injuries and deaths because he disarmed his customers and staff, thus making them potential victims of armed criminals?
I’ve never heard of anyone suing over incidents like this, and it’s not like these are rare: schools, the Aurora theater, and other locations – all with ‘gun-free zone’ signs or policies – have been sites of slaughter by criminals (who by their very nature refuse to obey the law) carrying firearms.
IMO, not only do these signs signal to armed maniacs that nobody on-premise will be able to fight back, they and the policies behind them turn anyone within the confines of these ‘gun-free zones’ (also called ‘free-fire zones’ by some bloggers and other writers) into potential victims.
And this, in particular, is the reason I won’t patronize shops and other businesses which display such signs.