"I've Been to Chuck E. Cheese with a Gun"

What happens when a Middle Eastern-looking man and a young black man walk into a LongHorn with loaded pistols on their belts?

"Welcome to LongHorn, will it just be the two of you?"

The hostess told us there would be a 20-minute wait. We stood at the doorway and talked. Nobody said a word or even looked at us funny. A few people glanced down at my belt as they walked up, but honestly, a new iPhone would have caused a bigger fuss than our guns.

At Creative Loafing Atlanta, vaguely liberalish sensitive guy Andisheh Nouraee traipses around Atlanta and its environs with a gun and waits for reactions. Takeaway: No one even says "boo."

In April, Georgia passed a law that expanded the list of places that it's A-OK to carry a gun to include restaurants, including those that serve booze, and those that don't, like Chuck E. Cheese, plus public transit:

"So I just want to be clear," I asked [Atlanta public transit system] MARTA police Chief Wanda Dunham. "If I had a turkey sandwich in one hand and a gun in the other hand, MARTA police would ticket me for the turkey sandwich?"

"If you're eating it," she replied. "Only if you're eating it."

An interesting study in the robust minding-one's-own-business ethos that makes America great. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: I'm reliably informed that you can get two (2) small plastic cups of beer and/or wine at Chuck E. Cheese. If only I'd know that during all the kiddie parties I attended in my youth. I bet a beer would have improved my skeeball skills immensely.

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  • Paul||

    An interesting study in the robust minding-one's-own-business ethos that makes America great.



    If we could just get the rest of America to adopt this...this 'minding-one's-own-business' attitude of which you speak, we could truly be a great country [again].

  • ||

    I'll admit to not RingTFA, but I wanted to comment on this:


    "So I just want to be clear," I asked [Atlanta public transit system] MARTA police Chief Wanda Dunham. "If I had a turkey sandwich in one hand and a gun in the other hand, MARTA police would ticket me for the turkey sandwich?"



    Because it strikes me as a typical anti-gun half truth.

    A Georgian with a carry license can open carry on the MARTA. However, having it in your hand for no good reason is brandishing, which will most certainly get you in trouble with the law, even in places open carry is permitted.

  • TallDave||

    Paradise found.

  • Guy Montag||

    I love the USA section of the USA!

    Now, if we could only export some common sense north of the Potomac river . . .

  • ed||

    Good article. It proves what we all know: Most Americans are decent, nonviolent individuals who can be trusted with dangerous toys like cars and chainsaws and blenders and guns.

  • Paul||

    A Georgian with a carry license can open carry on the MARTA. However, having it in your hand for no good reason is brandishing, which will most certainly get you in trouble with the law, even in places open carry is permitted.

    Even if true, Dr. K., way ahead of Seattle...for instance. In Seattle, you can have a carry permit, and it's even an open carry state. Walk down the street and let a cop catch a glimpse of the heat on your belt. A friend of mine was spotted with his legal firearm on his hip, and he was quickly surrouned by 4 cruisers, with a cop threatening to shoot him.

    When the cop asked my friend where he was from, my friend replied "Spokane". The cop returned: Little different out there, isn't it?

  • ||

    Washington state law preempts local law on firearms. It's the same everywhere in the state.

    If a citizen stopped another at gunpoint, for exercise of an unalienable right, the first citizen would end up in jail. How is it that cops can flagrantly violate federal and state law without facing even a penalty as minor as being required to be educated on state law to the minimum level expected of a citizen?

  • Abdul||

    No one even says "boo."

    Of course not. He'd have shot them.

  • ||

    They must have passed this to allow Atlanta area citizens the chance to defend themselves against the city's drug task force.

    I like the law. Here in La. it has always been legal to strap on a sidearm. Not sure about the bars right now thought.

    As I tell people who think it will be wild west if people carry. So long as no one tries to harm me or those around me 100000000000000000000000000000000 people could walk right by me and never know I was even armed.

  • ||

    Of course they'd know you were armed. By the time that many people walked by while you just stood there, you'd have died of old age, fallen over, your body and clothing would have decayed and the firearm would be clearly visible.

  • ||

    Here in California there are a lot of gun owners, but open carry is an utterly foreign concept. Concealed carry does exist, but that's okay because no one sees the gun. But you won't be able to get two blocks walking around San Francisco with a gun displayed on your hip.

  • Paul||

    But you won't be able to get two blocks walking around San Francisco with a gun displayed on your hip.

    'Cause everyone knows that's how criminals roll.

  • Guy Montag||

    Even if true, Dr. K., way ahead of Seattle...for instance. In Seattle, you can have a carry permit, and it's even an open carry state. Walk down the street and let a cop catch a glimpse of the heat on your belt. A friend of mine was spotted with his legal firearm on his hip, and he was quickly surrouned by 4 cruisers, with a cop threatening to shoot him.

    And don't forget that $0.20 tax if you don't have a reusable bag for it.

  • Abdul||

    But you won't be able to get two blocks walking around San Francisco with a gun displayed on your hip.

    While in Sacramento, open carry is okay, but you won't get two blocks in assless chaps.

  • ||

    Assless or bare-ass chaps?

  • Guy Montag||

    But you won't be able to get two blocks walking around San Francisco with a gun displayed on your hip.

    Wow, they have an alternative scene for that too? SF sounds like quite an interesting place, from a distance.

  • Paul||

    While in Sacramento, open carry is okay, but you won't get two blocks in assless chaps.

    Assless chaps wouldn't get you a second look in Seattle. In fact, if you wore assless chaps and your gun, they'd figure you were heading to a "show" and the gun was a prop.

  • Guy Montag||

    Abdul,

    LOL, same thought but your comment was funny.

  • ed||

    When is California finally breaking off from the normal part of the country?
    I'd like to see that before I die.

  • ||

    Technically they already have, when they selectively repealed the first amendment (what else would you call their constitutional amendment that defined which religious concepts were valid and which were not?)

  • Paul||

    When is California finally breaking off from the normal part of the country?
    I'd like to see that before I die.


    Ed, you don't read the papers. California is quickly becoming the normal part of the country.

  • ||

    Hey Paul,

    Were there any special circumstances with your friend and the four squad cars? I can't recall any time the police even seemed observant enough to notice and I usually carry (concealed) a full size pistol over something compact.

  • ||

    In April, Georgia passed a law that expanded the list of places that it's A-OK to carry a gun to include restaurants, including those that serve booze, and those that don't, like Chuck E. Cheese,


    Since I cannot RTFA at work I have a question: Do the businesses have the right to refuse service to patrons who carry, or at least require a gun check (like coat check) at the door? If not, then this is not a whole lot better than banning smoking from the restaurant. It's still telling private property owners what they may and may not do on their property.

    You will note that I left MARTA off of my included list as it's a government entity.

    If, however, the law simply repeals a legal ban on carry in these places then I applaud it as loud as I can.

  • Nigel Watt||

    If, however, the law simply repeals a legal ban on carry in these places then I applaud it as loud as I can.

    Yeah, I'd like to know about that too. The recent Florida law is an example of the wrong kind of carry encouragement.

  • robc||

    Kwix,

    I assume in GA you can refuse service/ask to leave anyone anytime you want (subject to a few rules, of course, race etc).

    In KY, postings on the door mean exactly nothing according to the law. You can put a NO GUNS ALLOWED sign on your door all you want, but all that grants you is the right to ask me to leave (which you have anyway).

    As far as gun checks go, I would guess you would do it. My local ballpark checks bags and stuff. I would guess GA is the same.

  • Paul||

    Were there any special circumstances with your friend and the four squad cars?

    No. However, Quine, that's a perfectly reasonable thing to assume. Here's how it went down: **warning long post contains transcript**

    Friend washing his motorcycle on the sidewalk outside his building. He's bent over, and his jacket is above his beltline, exposing the pistol. Cop cruises by-- suddenly slows down, then continues to end of block, pulls U-turn. Stops. Officer gets out. Greets.

    In fact, I found the transcript from the original email my friend sent me:

    Cop: "How are you doing today?"
    frnd: "Fine, thanks. How are you?"
    Cop: "That's a nice bike."
    frnd: "Thanks!"
    Cop: "Don't reach for the gun or I'll kill you."
    frnd: "I understand."
    Cop: "Can I see your permit?"
    frnd: "Umm…Sure, but it's in my wallet, which is right next to the gun."
    Cop: "That's ok. Just don't reach for the gun or I'll kill you."
    frnd: "Umm…..Ok…..."

    I carefully handed him my permit and driver's license.

    Cop: Calls out on radio that the situation is "Under control."

    I start looking around for SWAT peering over bushes and rooftops. And the armored vehicle that I know is coming.

    Cop: "Hand me your gun."
    frnd: "Umm. Would you like to be the one to draw it from my holster, sir?"
    Cop: "No. Just hand it to me."
    frnd: "I understand." I drew it muzzle down and handed it to him in a very slow and deliberate fashion, the whole time recalling his multiple warnings about killing me for performing precisely this particular action.
    Cop: "Hang tight while I run your name and the serial number. You can continue washing your bike."
    frnd: "I understand."
    Cop: "Do you still live in this building?"
    frnd: "Yes sir."

    I continue about my task.

    2 other patrol cars arrive on scene.

    [my edit for brevity]: cops now have Street completely blocked off. It takes 30 minutes for first cop to run license and hunt for warrants. Several officers standing around my friend in what friend described as 'half circle'.[end edit]

    Cop: "I stopped because your gun was visible and you were probably scaring the shit out of people. I don't want to get a bunch of 911 calls about this."
    frnd: "Gee, did you get calls about me? I'm sorry, I didn't realize my jacket had crept up and that my gun was showing. I'm normally very, very conscious of keeping it concealed."
    Cop: "No calls yet. I was just driving by and was checking out your Harley when I noticed the gun. At least you chose a nice one to carry."
    frnd: "Thanks for not tasing me."
    Cop: "Where are you from?"
    frnd: "Well, I've been living in this-a-here building for 6 years now. But I'm originally from Spokane."
    Cop: "Oh, ok. Spokane. Big difference between here and there." [I got the very distinct impression he was fishing my reasons for carrying a gun in his urban environment]
    Cop: "What do you do for work?"
    frnd: "Network administration"
    Cop: Puzzled look
    frnd: "….computer geek stuff."
    Cop: "Ok. Don't you have a shoulder holster???"
    frnd: "Nope. I always carry on my hip. I'm normally really good about keeping it concealed, though. Honest."

    They finally get their DOL records and verify that I am legit. Cop comes back and places the gun under my pile of towels which are several feet from where I'm standing.

    Cop: "Give us a minute to leave before picking up your gun."

  • andrew c||

    I live just north of ATL, and you can TOTALLY drink beer at Chuck E. Cheese. How do you think dads survive that place?

  • Old Bull Lee||

    I had a similar experience while jogging. It was just one car with 2 cops that passed me. They took it out of the holster and made me stand in front of the car while they checked everything. They handed it back to me with the magazine taken out (I kept the chamber empty), and told me not to reload until after I rounded the corner of the block.

  • ||

    Which properly should be ignored by the citizen, and the weapon immediately reloaded and holstered.

    While it is a citizen's duty to obey a lawful order, it is equally a citizen's duty to ignore an unlawful one.

  • LarryA||

    What really amazes me is that despite forty of the fifty states having right-to-carry mayors of D.C. and Chicago can stick to their story about handgun bans being necessary to prevent crime, with a straight face. Despite their much higher crime rates.

    Do the businesses have the right to refuse service to patrons who carry, or at least require a gun check (like coat check) at the door?

    That sets up an interesting Catch-22.

    "I'm asking you to leave because I believe your carrying a gun may cause a problem, but I'm confident enough in gun owners I'll bet my life that my pissing you off by asking you to leave won't cause a problem."

    Friend washing his motorcycle on the sidewalk...

    Worst time I ever had with a Texas cop because of carrying:

    Driving on a state highway out in the country at night. It's overcast, just past midnight, new moon. Dark enough so you literally can't see your hand in front of your face.

    I hit a deer. Minor damage, but it got the radiator so I needed a tow truck. No signal on my cell phone. I was sitting there waiting for another car when a sheriff's deputy pulled up.

    He asked me what the problem was and I showed him. He called a tow, then asked for my ID. As required while carrying, I handed him my driver's license and concealed handgun license.

    Like to never got rid of him. While we waited for the tow truck we talked about all the guns he owned, and all the guns I owned, and what he carried off duty, and what I carried, and how neither of our wives took personal security as seriously as we wanted them to.

    I wouldn't live anywhere else.

  • Paul||

    Old Bull:

    That would be (in my opinion) a more reasonable experiece. I was actually more annoyed than my friend. I told him that while I would have complied with everything they told me to do, that I would have made a formal complaint to a supervisor. And, I would have *made* the officer take the gun himself. Ie, I would have politely told him that given his clear threat to "kill me", that I was no longer comfortable handling my firearm in front of them, and as such, would place my hands against a wall as in an arrest.

  • Rhywun||

    What really amazes me is that despite forty of the fifty states having right-to-carry mayors of D.C. and Chicago can stick to their story about handgun bans being necessary to prevent crime, with a straight face. Despite their much higher crime rates.



    Chicago has a lower crime rate than the large cities of many of the gun-friendly states.

    DC, however, admittedly sucks for crime.

    I'm all for guns, for personal protection. But let's not pretend it has any effect on crime rates.

  • ||

    Chicago has horrible crime rates per 100,000 residents in all major crime categories.

    Apparently your tolerance for Murder, Forcible rape, Robbery, and Aggravated assault is quite high.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....crime_rate

    Why don't you tell us what has effects on crime rates, Raffaele Garofalo.

  • ||

    How exactly could it not have an effect?

    Very few criminals commit crimes for the thrill, they commit crimes because they see it as easier than working for a living. Only crazy people wake up in the morning and decide to go commit a felony in hopes of meeting an armed citizen, and widespread gun carry, whether open or concealed, deters those looking for easy victims.

  • ||

    When the cop asked my friend where he was from, my friend replied "Spokane". The cop returned: Little different out there, isn't it

    If your friend said "Tacoma", which is a 20 min drive from Seattle, the cop's reaction would have been the same.

    Point being that Seattle is the outlier while the rest of the state, regardless if you are 7 hours from Seattle (Spokane) or 20 min from Seattle, is the norm.

    Note to non-Washington residents: Washington is divided by the cascade mountains...culturally the state is homogeneous with Seattle being somewhat out of the states norm but often this dichotomy is described as a Western Washington vs Eastern Washington which is actually not accurate.

    One only has to travel to Forks Washington to see how absurd an East Vs West description is.

  • ||

    This is quite accurate. Seattle is crazytown compared to the rest of the state. I say this as a Seattle native, having lived here for 32 out of the last 36 years. Things that cops and citizens alike take as normal elsewhere produce strange and unusual reactions from people in Seattle.

  • Gunstar1||

    A Georgian with a carry license can open carry on the MARTA. However, having it in your hand for no good reason is brandishing, which will most certainly get you in trouble with the law, even in places open carry is permitted.



    I don't think so. Where in the law does it say that? The only law that deals with it being in your hand is if you point or aim the gun at someone without legal justification.

    Holding a firearm and aiming at someone are 2 different things.

  • Paul||

    Rhywun:

    Did you catch:

    Murder is the only statistic that all agencies are required to report. Consequently some agencies particularly in Illinois do not report all the crimes. If components are missing the total is adjusted to "0."


    And define "many" gun friendly cities.

  • ||

    Don't define a city as "gun friendly" or "gun unfriendly." Define them as "civil rights friendly" or "civil rights unfriendly" instead.

    The issue is governments picking and choosing what parts of the Constitution they will obey and disobey despite the requirement to obey all of it, nothing more and nothing less.

    After all, possession of chemistry textbooks has killed more people in history than possession of a firearm. And yet, no one wants to regulate the ability to read.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I'm all for guns, for personal protection. But let's not pretend it has any effect on crime rates.

    Amen...and doubly true for concealed carry laws.

    As for the article and the comments they both provide anecdotal evidence for my contention that concealed carry is the wrong way to go. People are more trusting of someone with a gun who is open about it than they are of someone who is hiding their gun.

    True, in places where no one carries a gun, you will get some questioning why you feel the need, but even in those places having the gun easily visible sends a different message than having it hidden.

    You have a right to carry a gun.
    Exercise that right in the open.

  • Paul||

    People are more trusting of someone with a gun who is open about it than they are of someone who is hiding their gun.

    Correction: people are trusting of someone they feel is safe with a gun on their belt in plain view, and not trusting of someone they know has a gun, but is hiding it.

    If I conceal my weapon, and you never know it's there, what don't you trust about me?

    The problem with Washington's open carry law, is that it bans open carry if someone gets miffed. Washington has a stunningly vague statement which make it nigh impossible to open-carry. To wit:

    ""for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm,[for the love of Mike?!! Leatherman toolkit, utility knife, hammer, screwdriver...] in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons."

    Therefore, it's well established within pro-gun circles that Washington State effectively demands you hide your weapon.

    Appropos of this, here's a very reasonable argument as to why concealed carry is actually better:

    http://www.claytoncramer.com/PopularMagazines/WashingtonOpenCarryBan.html

  • ||

    "Do the businesses have the right to refuse service to patrons who carry, or at least require a gun check (like coat check) at the door? ..."

    Yes, they do. But, those patrons also have the right to never give said business another cent.

    "If, however, the law simply repeals a legal ban on carry in these places then I applaud it as loud as I can."

    That is *exactly* what the law does.

    Now we need to work on getting a similar repeal of the ban on carrying in publicly-owned/operated buildings (the library, parking decks, rest areas, etc) and churches.

  • SIV||

    You have a right to carry a gun.
    Exercise that right in the open.


    Open carry makes sense for a rifle, shotgun, or a really big revolver.Why would I carry a snubnose revolver or small .380 auto openly?
    Should I refrain from carrying a small folding knife in my pocket for a fixed blade Bowie in a belt scabbard?

  • robc||

    Bob,

    churches.

    KY's concealed carry law originally excluded churches. The first update to it changed that.

  • robc||

    NM,

    Much like free speech, I can use my right either openly or anonymously.

    Publius would carry concealed.

  • ||


    SIV
    Should I refrain from carrying a small folding knife in my pocket for a fixed blade Bowie in a belt scabbard?



    Any knife that's big enough to actually use is too big for a pocket. Get a belt sheath for your folder like I did.

  • ||

    Andrew C is right. Obviously, if not for beer sales, Chuck E Cheese's would have gone the way of the dodo a long, long time ago. My guess is she's never set foot in the place. I wish I could say that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Paul,

    Sounds like Washington has a stupid policy regarding open carry.

    That link, however, doesn't provide "a very reasonable argument as to why concealed carry is actually better."

    At all.

  • Guy Montag||

    I must have had this on my mind when I asked the manager of a bar I like to go to in Pentagon Row about the issue.

    She said "it depends". Did not know if she would ask me to leave carrying open or not, which is how I would have to carry in a bar in VA (since about 2004). She was generally against her customers carrying open, but did not have an issue with concealed. Only problem with that is that non-cops are not legal if we carry concealed in a bar here.

    Actually, I would appreciate places that don't want people packing to put up a sign. Saves the trouble of going in and getting asked to leave, which is their right to do.

  • ||

    LarryA - I had a similar experience when I got pulled over for an expired inspection sticker. How he spotted it going the other way on the highway, I'll never know.

    The smart cops have no problem with CCW holders, because they know we are "pre-vetted" as good citizens.

  • ||

    Note to non-Washington residents: Washington is divided by the cascade mountains...culturally the state is homogeneous with Seattle being somewhat out of the states norm but often this dichotomy is described as a Western Washington vs Eastern Washington which is actually not accurate.

    You mean there's an urban rural divide? I'm shocked to hear that. It's such a rare phenomenon.

  • ||

    But let's not pretend it has any effect on crime rates.

    Assuming this is true, that means opponents of concealed carry don't have a leg to stand on. Why ban something that has no effect on crime?

  • ||

    Paul, I can illustrate where your friend went wrong:

    Cop: "How are you doing today?"
    frnd: "I am free to go?"

    tip: terminate voluntary interviews with LEO's as quickly as possible as their intent is to establish probable cause to search or detain you further.

  • Neu Mejican||

    R C Dean | August 1, 2008, 10:30am | #
    But let's not pretend it has any effect on crime rates.

    Assuming this is true, that means opponents of concealed carry don't have a leg to stand on. Why ban something that has no effect on crime?


    We don't need to assume it is true.
    It is true.

    I do wonder, however, if you see a difference between legally vetted concealed carry not having an effect on crime, and the concept that criminals who use guns for criminal purposes might conceal their weapons to facilitate their successful execution of those crimes.

    Just asking.

  • Sky||

    "As for the article and the comments they both provide anecdotal evidence for my contention that concealed carry is the wrong way to go."

    The benefit of concealed carry is that criminals do not know if you do not have a gun. If everyone open caried, it would be easier pickings - visually knowing who did and did not have a gun. Concealed carry extends the detterance protection even to people who do not have guns. This is why tourist were preyed upon in Florida for robberies after concealed carry passed - the criminals did not know whether or not a Floridian might be packing heat, but they knew the tourists weren't.

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