Passage of the new, but as yet not signed into law by the Governor, legislation allowing concealed weapons to be brought into bars and restaurants is forcing places which sell food and drink across the state to take a side in the fight over how much of the landscape will be open to concealed weapons. While the restaurant association and it's lobbyist chose to sit on the fence based on an alleged survey of members indicating and equal division of opinion, as often happens, few people thought the implications of the legislation through to their inevitable end.
That is understandable if you know how the food and beverage industry works here in Charleston. As a group, they're apolitical. Their schedules and working hours don't really allow normal civic and cultural involvement. The order wheels in the kitchen are spinning hardest when all the meetings are being held. It's common to wake up at Noon, be at work by two and work until ten or 11 pm. Afterwards there are a few hours to wind down before the return to bed. Places which keep later hours produce even more extreme schedules.
I can't criticise the people who work this way for not showing up for political meetings. We still haven't adapted our system to something they can connect with. The pace is brutal and the income seasonal and often low. Not everywhere makes payroll. There are notable exceptions and the people running these places often know a lot of politicians, but the line workers and wait staff don't vote or go to meetings often.
However now they have to make a choice. The gun industry is large here and they don't want to make powerful and well funded enemies. They're hearing some objections from others who simply don't want guns everywhere or around them. They read the same reports we do and it's pretty clear that a permit doesn't make everyone sane with a gun.
We've started leafleting bars and restaurants here (there's no legal difference in SC, (all bars must serve food in some form) so some staffs are aware some of us want options on places to eat where guns aren't welcomed.
You can follow SC Moms Demand Action on Facebook. They're organizing and recruiting across SC now.
Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 8:15 AM PT: Evidently after controversy erupted, Titos took down the sign. One of the owners is in the picture taken when the sign was posted. There is an extensive debate on their Facebook page, dominated by the gun community. Obviously this is a nightmare for the business owner, but an inevitable one as every business is the state is forced to pick a side. We're seeing the first engagement in a door to door fight across the state where those of us not wanting a society packing loaded weapons everywhere have to make our opinions known. We're using these cards to do that here in Charleston. https://drive.google.com/...