Yesterday’s Washington Times published a story about how there are now more than 57,000 “gun-friendly” bars and restaurants across the country, and how a couple of websites are now promoting the notion that catering to armed customers is good business.
It’s an idea that runs in the opposite direction from a continuing effort in Seattle, started under former anti-gun Mayor Mike McGinn, that encourages businesses to post their premises off limits to firearms. The Washington Times story ended by recalling the now-infamous Pit Authentic Barbecue armed robbery in Durham, N.C. earlier this year.
The Pit was posted with a sign, “No Weapons, No Concealed Firearms.” The sign, say critics, alerted the criminals that nobody inside would be able to resist. That’s the same thing critics of McGinn’s 2013 effort, which was supported by Washington CeaseFire, said could happen in Seattle.
The story discussed an August, Georgia steakhouse that had to quickly retreat from a no-guns policy when backlash from customers was overwhelming. It also focused on a Leesburg, Virginia eatery that actually offers a “Second Amendment Wednesday” that brings lots of customers through the doors.
It’s quite a contrast to Seattle, where the anti-gun mindset provides something of a safe haven for backers of Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure. The Spokane Spokesman-Review recently reported that the lion’s share of contributions to the I-594 campaign come from ten zip codes in the Seattle area.
What the Washington Times story shows, as well as the Spokesman-Review’s article, is a deepening and widening philosophical divide in America. On one side is the emotional campaign against gun ownership as a panacea to criminal violence. On the other side is campaign of logic that defends a constitutionally-protected fundamental civil right. Somewhere in between are voters who support public safety, but also worry about being unable to protect their families in an emergency, and who dislike, if not despise, being browbeaten by billionaires who hire their own security details.
Businesses traditionally dislike being used as political football fields. Their interest is making a profit. Some 57,000 businesses are refusing to discriminate against customers who peaceably exercise a constitutional right. Others are telling a rather large customer base that their business isn’t welcome. It’s up to the people to decide where to spend their money.