Well, seeing as it is not every day that one makes the national newspapers, I thought that this Tuesday I would let you share in my 15 minutes of fame. The following article appeared in the Washington Post this week and as you can see, yours truly is quoted (largely correctly for once)
Texas Open Carry Law Triggers Tough Choice for Businesses
The issue of open carrying of firearms was clarified in a law that came into force at the beginning of the year. Basically, it is now legal to openly carry in the state of Texas. What this meant for a small business owner such as myself was very simple. If I wanted to prevent my customers from frequenting our coffee houses whilst openly sporting their firearms I would have to display a fairly large poster in both English and Spanish to comply. We were forced to make a choice.
The article does a good job of examining the issues provoked by the new law. Our choice was not difficult for a number of reasons. To begin with, I am in favor of stricter gun laws due to overwhelming evidence that links lax gun laws with higher firearm mortality. We also had far more customers expressing concern over the possibility of guns being openly flaunted than otherwise. In point of fact, this law does nothing to increase or decrease how many firearms are carried, merely how they are carried. In my opinion, this is an issue of safety and common sense.
Imagine you are standing in the line for your coffee and an openly carried firearm is available within arms length of any customer in that line. What is to stop anyone, including a child, reaching for the gun and thus sparking a potentially dangerous sequence of events. What if that person is a petty criminal with no access to guns but uses the opportunity to carry out an armed robbery. Imagine the possible tension created when you inadvertently spill your hot coffee on a person who openly carries and is having a bad day. Surely common sense dictates the new law heightens tension, allows more potential accidents and could even give opportunity for misunderstanding and potential harm to innocent bystanders. I get it. Not so long ago in ‘these parts’, your life might depend on how fast you could draw your gun. But in these days of high school football and atm machines, are we still living in the Wild West?
It is clear that the new law was a political move given the sheer dearth of people who actually wish to flaunt their firearms even in Texas. We have received many more commendations for our actions and our business has continued to grow since the beginning of the year. What is more encouraging than anything else are the many businesses here in Texas who have made the same choice. I applaud those who are taking a stand for safety given that it is easier not to have large signs in two languages in your front window! And with that, I am off to take a couple of shots – espresso that is!