State Capitol News
12:46 pm
Mon September 28, 2009

Guns in Bars law to take effect

Phoenix, AZ – If you don't want to patronize a place that serve liquor where
customers can carry a gun, you should look for a sign -- and not
from above.

A new law that takes effect Wednesday allows anyone with a
state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon to bring it into
a bar or restaurant where beer, wine or liquor is sold. The
measure was pushed by gun advocates who said someone who wants to
get a snack at a restaurant should not be forced to leave a
weapon in the car simply because alcoholic beverages also are
sold there.

There is an escape clause: A business that doesn't
want its patrons to be armed can post a no weapons sign by the
door. Bill Weigele of the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association
said he assumes most bar owners will put up such signs. But
Weigele said he is finding a fair number of restaurants are
willing to let their customers keep their weapons. He said the
key is that the right is limited to those who have those state-
issued permits.

"Their thinking is, if someone's going to carry responsibly,
they'll have a permit. If they're going to carry irresponsibly,
you won't know it anyhow because they've been doing it forever."

He said some business owners figure if customers are going to
carry concealed weapons without getting the state permit --
itself a violation of state law -- they're not going to worry
about bringing that gun where it's not wanted. Simply because a
bar or restaurant does not post a no guns sign does not mean
there are no restrictions. State law still spells out that anyone
who is armed is not permitted to drink.