A friend recently contacted me with a question that affects a lot of us who carry defensive handguns. He is going on vacation to a major city and wants to be able to visit several of the classy bars the city is famous for. But, especially being in a large city, he wants to be able to carry his defensive handgun. What to do?
I think we have to keep in mind the responsibilities that go along with exercising our legal right to be armed. In the event that we have to use deadly force, it is not to our benefit for the prosecutor to be able to show that we were violating the law, any law. Even in areas where it might be legal to carry a gun into a bar, we need to keep in mind that some prospective jurors might frown upon the fact that one was drinking alcohol and carrying a gun. Trust me, none of us need this kind of grief and the added challenge that it will place on the attorney who is trying to defend you.
So you decide to go bar hopping and, exercising good judgment, leave your gun in your hotel room. What do you do about protecting yourself on the street and even in the bar, should trouble raise its ugly head?
To begin with, you go ahead and spring for the extra cost of hiring a taxi to take you to the places you want to visit. This will severely minimize the potential for attacks on the street. And it will also forgo the possibility of a DUI arrest, or worse.
Secondly, should it appear that trouble is about to occur in a particular bar, you leave. This should be the plan even if the trouble is starting at the other end of the room and you are in no way involved. Just pay your bill and hit the road. There is no way that you are going to be the hero in any form or fashion, just get out of there.
Frankly, I gave up bar hopping years ago, when I first started carrying a gun. And I have decided that carrying a gun is even more reason to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages altogether when I am armed. When on the road, I enjoy staying at a nice hotel and generally encourage my friends to join me in the hotel bar. Even then, should any kind of trouble start in the bar, I am leaving through the closest exit.