A Fetus and a Gun Walk Into a Bar

We can try a little sanity here and there on the way to a larger solution. 

     We might consider the effort to make legal carrying concealed guns in bars. While the NRA and most Republican officeholders have no problem promoting it…drunks have rights, too…the saner among us, including the brighter Republicans and NRA members, might see a way clear to say aloud what this idea is: Bloody Nuts.

     Instead of my listing out all the reasons in case some readers just can’t intuitively understand why this is a Bad-Idea, I’ll share here some not-so-recent letters from the New York Times


 To the Editor:

Guns and alcohol don’t mix. Back in 1967 at the Marble Mountain Marine Corps helicopter base near Da Nang, Vietnam, we pilots were armed nearly everywhere we went — at the chow hall, in the ready room, sometimes even sitting on the latrines.

The only place we didn’t carry personal weapons was in the officers’ club, where they were prohibited by the base commanding officer. Why? Because the colonel, like any levelheaded adult, knew that alcohol impaired judgment and self-control.

Arnold R.
Pensacola, Fla.

To the Editor:

Restaurants and bars have the right to prohibit guns in their establishments, and many do. So if a person feels uncomfortable in a restaurant where carrying is permitted, he or she doesn’t have to go there.

Only men are quoted in your recent piece, leaving out the approximately 15 to 20 million women who own guns, some of whom legally carry concealed handguns because they feel unsafe.

In my years teaching women to shoot handguns, I heard stories of women accosted and raped after leaving a bar or a restaurant. If these women had had a gun, they could have deterred their attackers.

Some antigun people think that if more women carry concealed guns, they are more at risk. But a gun represents a greater change in a woman’s ability to defend herself than it does for a man.

Most women do not have the strength or the fighting skills to fend off an attacker. The gun levels the field.

But I feel strongly that both women and men who choose to legally carry concealed weapons need to be trained by professional instructors.

Paxton Q.
New York


To the Editor:

I’d like to see a law requiring any bar or restaurant that allows patrons to carry concealed loaded weapons on its premises to post a warning on its door.

I would not go to such a place, and I think others might like that option as well. Cigarette packages carry warnings of their danger; why not bars with guns?

Elise K.
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Even in the days of the Wild West, it was unambiguous saloon policy in several towns to check the guns at the door. I recently watched a rerun of “Gunsmoke” in which Marshal Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty, the barkeep, made sure there were no firearms allowed in Dodge City barrooms because they knew from practical experience that guns and alcohol just didn’t mix.

Of course, they didn’t have the National Rifle Association back then stirring up trouble by demanding that Second Amendment rights be extended to drunken, out-of-control customers in a bar.

Dan G.
Merrick, N.Y.


     These letters promote a variety of points of view. Do any resonate with you? I’m particularly intrigued by the writer who believes handguns level the field between her and would-be attackers. I don’t know what the numbers say on this but I’d like to know if 

          – women with guns repel attackers successfully more than their guns end up placing them at greater risk.

          -women with guns repel attackers more than women without guns.

Our guts may say one thing but the facts may not comport with my gut-check or with yours.

     More, I wonder if there’s hope for any meeting of minds on the concealed-weapons-in-bars issue. It’s legal in a number of states. Yours? Those of you for expansive gun rights, any useful ideas here? Those of you for more restrictions, are you ready to compromise on other gun-related issues in order to keep  guns out of bars? I ask you because it feels, at times, as if the chasm of thought and feeling here is as, or more deep, is as, or more broad, than the gulf of thinking and emotion that lies between those on opposing sides of the abortion debates. Perhaps we can, all of us, agree that no one as yet in the womb gets to carry a gun walking into a bar. Oh, that’s right. Fetuses have rights, too.


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