Gun prohibitionists seek traction in Akron restaurants
Feb. 02, 2004
Akron Beacon Journal
Restaurants, county keep guns at bay
New concealed-carry law leaves prohibiting firearms up to operator
Restaurant owner Ed Davidian said when it comes to his Country Diners, guns will be joining cigars and pipes on the list of unwelcome items.
"We're a family type of restaurant. I don't see where a gun is necessary in our businesses. I just don't see that,'' Davidian said.
And Summit County Executive James B. McCarthy said he wants there to be no doubt in anyone's mind: Leave your guns at home if you're heading for a county building.
McCarthy signed an executive order last week prohibiting guns in all county buildings and vehicles and on county property.
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Davidian and McCarthy are responding to a new law that makes carrying a concealed weapon in Ohio legal.
The law, which takes effect in April, spells out certain places where concealed weapons are prohibited: colleges, schools, airports, churches, police stations, day care centers, and any place that serves alcoholic beverages.
But for businesses and other places where guns aren't wanted, it's up to the operator to take action to prohibit them.
That's why Davidian said he will be posting signs in his Akron, Kent and Alliance eateries to make sure customers leave their guns outside.
"We don't allow cigars or pipes. I think six-shooters should probably go along with that,'' he said.
Davidian said he suspects many restaurant operators who don't serve liquor don't even realize they have the right to prohibit guns.
He intends to bring up the issue at the next board meeting of the Akron Area Restaurant Association, and said he would like to see members vote as a bloc to prohibit guns.
The law spells out that guns are prohibited in prisons, jails, police stations, courthouses, and all buildings owned by the state "or any political subdivision of this state.''
But McCarthy said that wording is vague. "I want to make it perfectly clear that we don't want people to bring weapons onto county property or county buildings,'' he said.
McCarthy said it's important for county employees to feel secure that they are working in a safe environment.
But he also wants county employees who may be carrying guns to leave them at home, and to know that they may not carry a gun at work, or in a county-owned vehicle.
"It's a matter of public safety for our employees,'' he said.
Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander said he is in favor of McCarthy's action, and agreed to put his seal on the signs posted in county buildings.
As more businesses owners come to realize that they can ban weapons and take steps to do that, Alexander said he foresees a new problem in the future: "I see a ton of weapons being stolen out of cars,'' he said.
Residents in Akron are looking down the barrel of a perverbial gun, but it's not because law-abiding citizens will soon be legally licensed to carry firearms in their stores.
Members of the Akron Area Restaurant Association, which is an affiliate of the Ohio Restaurant Association, are obviously dangerously uninformed about this issue.
They need to hear about the tragedies which befell Captain D's restaurants in Tennessee after that restaurant made a move to ban firearms. Upon passage of Tennessee's concealed carry law in 1995, the Captain D's restaurant chain made a decision to ban concealed-carry permit holders from their restaurants. Rather than post signs, which they feared would drive away business, the chain obtained a liquor-by-the-drink permit, and placed a beer bucket in the front window. They did NOT place their new product on the menu! After a series of extremely violent robberies and murders of employees in several fast-food stores (which became known in the media as "the Captain D's murders), the restaurant chain quietly removed the beer buckets.
They need to hear about the experience of Dr. Suzanna Gratia-Hupp (now a Texas State Representative), who was forced to watch her parents lives be taken (along with 21 others) in the Luby's Restaurant rampage shooting in Kileen, TX because she was required to leave her firearm in her car.
They need to know that the vast majority of multiple victim public shootings occur in locations where firearms are illegal or are banned by the property owner.
They need to talk with one Vermilion store owner, who took down his "no guns" sign after several hours of watching Christmas shoppers bypass his store.
They need to hear about the latest Zogby International poll, which found that voters overwhelming favor these self-protection laws by a margin of 79% to 18%. Right-to-Carry drew better than 70% support in every demographic group, with even non-gun owners indicating their backing by 73% to 23%.
They need to hear that in every state that borders Ohio, and in the vast majority of states across this nation, most businesses have chosen not to post discriminatory signs against CHL holders, nor have they experienced any problems as a result.
The fight to restore your constitutional right to self-defense has gone on for a decade or more. It is time to act, or look forward to being greeted with the kinds of discriminating signs not seen since the days of segregation, and perhaps not ever seen in Ohio.
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