That's a nice pistol you're wearing on your hip there. Appears to be a Kimber Ultra-Carry 1911-style autoloader. I love classic, well-made firearms like that. But why are you packing it, for everyone to see, when you go out for dinner and drinks at the brewpub where I work?
I’m not really entitled to an answer to a question that begins with “why” when it comes to someone exercising a constitutionally protected right. You’re toting that expensive pistol outside your pants, while you down a couple beers, because you can. That’s the end of the conversation when it comes to the legality of your actions.
But let me tell you what went through my mind when I noticed that our staff had just served you and your date your third round of beers: If this clown is needlessly openly displaying a firearm, and something bad goes down, either on purpose or by accident, I do not want to be the guy who knowingly served y'all that third one. Or even the first one, for that matter.
Please do not misunderstand my perspective, Gun-Toting Dude (and it always seems to be a dude, for some reason). I'm a Marine Corps infantry veteran. I hunt. I own guns. I have since I was a teenager. I just checked: There are nine firearms in my gun cabinet right now.
But I leave them all at home when I go out for dinner and drinks. I’d encourage you to do the same. Not because you can’t carry your guns into my workplace, but because you shouldn’t.
Mistakes made with firearms tend to be difficult to undo.
You shouldn’t put me and my colleagues in the tough spot of trying to decide how much alcohol we’re comfortable serving you in case you do something stupid with your gun.
True, our liability would be no different than if you were to do something stupid behind the wheel of your car after drinking here. But there is no equivalent to "let me call you a cab" when the potentially deadly situation involves you and your conspicuous handgun. I have no desire to pry that nice pistol from your cold, dead hand if your judgment takes a slide after you've had a couple drinks.
So please, come to our brewpub. Try our beers. Leave the guns at home. We all will be just fine without your perceived ability to defend us — especially after you’ve got a couple drinks under your belt to go along with that sidearm.
Rich Vosepka, Salt Lake City, is a former Marine, a former journalist and currently brews beer and waits tables at a Utah brewpub. Vosepka is an avid hunter, angler and public lands advocate who believes that rights come with responsibilities.