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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:37 PM Thu, Dec. 13th

Talk of the Town: Permit holders are not the threat

"Many say Bullets and Booze don't mix." We think everyone would agree that it is irresponsible to consume alcohol while having a deadly weapon.

Senate Bill 1113, the new gun law that Gov. Jan Brewer signed, states it is illegal for a person with a concealed weapon to buy and drink alcohol, and it is illegal for a business to serve alcohol to a customer who is armed with a concealed weapon.

For a person to obtain a concealed carry permit in Arizona they must attend an eight-hour class taught by a DPS-certified CCW instructor. They learn about firearms safety, proper gun handling, state and federal Laws, criminal and civil liability, and all the responsibilities that accompany the CCW permit. Applicants for a CCW receive a thorough check by DPS and the FBI to assure they are law-abiding citizens.

Now that we've established it's irresponsible to consume alcohol while carrying a deadly weapon, who really poses the greatest threat to the good citizens of our communities? Is it the responsible law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits that enter establishments that serve alcohol for consumption on the premises who are not drinking - or the criminals who will carry guns into the same establishments with total disregard for life, property and the law.

Why shouldn't we have the right to protect ourselves or a loved one from a madman who is armed and intoxicated in any location? The police have no duty to protect us. Many court decisions that support this. The most prominent decision stated by one federal court even boldly proclaimed that: "There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen." Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616, 618 (7th Cir. 1982)

Have we forgotten about the Luby's massacre that took place on Oct. 16, 1991, in Killeen, Texas, when George Jo Hennard drove his pickup truck into a Luby's Cafeteria and shot and killed 23 people, wounded another 20, and then committed suicide by shooting himself? During the shooting Hennard approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents.

Hupp actually had brought a handgun to the Luby's Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle because of laws in force at the time forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. After realizing that her firearm was not in her purse, but "a hundred feet away in [her] car," her father charged at Hennard who gunned him down, and a short time later, Hennard also killed Hupp's mother.

It remained the deadliest shooting rampage in American history until the Virginia Tech Massacre. If just one person had a concealed weapon in these locations when these massacres took place, the outcomes may have been very different.

Violent criminals are like wolves. They are counting on the people in our communities to be like sheep, easy prey. Someone once said, "An armed society is a polite society."

If bar owners are so concerned about serving alcohol to someone who may have a deadly weapon why don't they stop serving everyone who appears intoxicated. They have no issues with allowing patrons in their bar to get drunk without knowing how they're going to get home. It's common sense that a 3,000-pound vehicle with a drunk behind the wheel is far more dangerous weapon than a sober law abiding citizen with a CCW. Just look at the number of DUI's across our country.

When you go into a place where "No Weapons" is posted, it tells you that the business owner is more concerned about his own liability and making money than he is about your personal safety.

He doesn't care if some madman opens fire in his bar or restaurant and kills everyone in it. It's not his problem, he didn't pull the trigger. Ask your local bartender, "If someone pulled out a gun and started randomly killing people, how would you protect me?" We've polled many and their answers were: "I don't know!" or "I'd call the police," or "That's not my problem."

Thanks a lot! Seconds to minutes later, you will have a floor covered in dead bodies and the criminal simply will waltz out of the joint unscathed, leaving innocent and helpless victims in his wake.

We understand the knee-jerk reactions from those who conceptualize a drunken person with a gun turning the town into Hollywood's version of the Old West, but that's not what the law says!

It states that it is illegal to be consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm. If you look at the big picture using any common sense, you will realize that 40 other states in the U.S. allow the carry of concealed firearms into bars and restaurants and have had only minor incidents. A CCW permit holder has taken on the responsibility to learn and understand the consequences of the inappropriate use of a firearm when they took their CCW class.

Why should we disarm and penalize them? The criminals will carry guns into bars or restaurants without any regard for the law or the safety of the occupants. Why should we be unarmed and depend on the mercy of criminals?

Matt and Sherrie Seibert are certified concealed carry instructors and teach basic and advanced firearms training locally.