Edward Pratt: This is a really, really bad idea

Just think, you’re in line at your favorite restaurant and just as the waiter is about to seat you, a patron sitting at a nearby table jumps to his feet because his steel grey Smith & Wesson .357 magnum with the custom wood grip has just fallen on the floor.

“Oops,” the diner would say to you. “My bad. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Oh, do you have one with you?”

If you think the idea of this happening is crazy, and would never happen. Just wait. This incident, and maybe worse, could be coming to your favorite restaurant and bar.

The Louisiana Legislature is taking up the issue of allowing gun owners in the Pelican State to carry concealed weapons into restaurants that sell alcohol. Proponents say it’s the Second Amendment at its best. And, it can save lives.

So how would you like to be a waiter in a restaurant when a tipsy customer decides he hates your service or who thinks the rack of lamb is a little cold? That customer reaches into his jacket and pulls out his no-longer-concealed .38 pistol. Scared yet?

Oh, wait a minute. Here’s an event reported recently in the Arkansas Times.

Fayetteville, Ark., police responded to fight at a pool hall involving two off-duty police officers. You know they are well-trained and carry concealed weapons all the time.

Witnesses said the two were causing a ruckus when one of them pulled out his Second Amendment gun and started waving it in the air like he just didn’t care. And, then the other well-trained officer of the law, fearing for his life, went for his Second Amendment gun.

Needless to say this caused much dismay among the patrons of the fine establishment. They feared for their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Both gun- twirlers admitted they were intoxicated.

Luckily no one was shot and killed. Now you think if they didn’t have the firearms they might have just yelled at each and went home and no one would have feared for their lives?

Taking the scenario a few steps further, what if 10 other folk in the bar, fearing for the lives, started pulling out their “concealed” guns? All hell could have broken out or folks could have been injured just from the panic.

I wonder HOW, with Louisiana’s “gun, grits and gin” legislation, a person, drunk as a skunk, would be in his legal rights to walk around with his “concealed” .44 magnum revolver (with its unbelievable killing and maiming capacity) but wouldn’t be allowed to drive a car. What?

In South Carolina they have introduced a similar carrying concealed weapons law. But get this, you can carry the “concealed” weapon in bars and restaurants but you are not allowed to drink alcohol while carrying firearms. What? How on earth can that be enforced?

And, who wants to be the person to say, “Sir, you are drunk, locked and loaded and you will have to leave.” Good luck with that.

Okay, I get the idea that someone walking back from a restaurant to a car, cab or another establishment wants to have their deadly force with them, but really, wouldn’t it frighten you if you thought the man or woman at the next table was getting drunk and you suspected they were armed?

Here’s a thought, let’s have the restaurants separated into two sections: “armed and paranoid” and “just want to relax.”

Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relatlions at Southern University. His email adddress is edpratt1972@yahoo.com.