If the whole concept of private property means anything, it should mean the ability to decide, without government interference, that you don’t want anyone toting firearms into your building.
Because it’s unsafe. Because it’s bad for business. Or just because you think guns are icky. It doesn’t matter. Your building, your rules.
Which is why it was troubling to hear that no laws were broken when someone apparently left a loaded handgun in a restroom at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper. Loaded with a bullet in the chamber and the safety off. In a restroom right off the children’s play area.
Grant, for the sake of argument and common sense, that the owner of said weapon didn’t mean to leave her gun in the bathroom. It was just one of those things that happens when a stressed parent in charge of energetic children is in such a hurry that she leaves something behind. Like a cellphone. Or a wallet. Or something that we are damned lucky didn’t kill the next child to walk into that restroom.
Worry about just such an eventuality is the reason why there is a sign near the door of the aquarium — and many other buildings that are open to the public throughout Utah — banning firearms on the premises. The one that, in this case, said, quite clearly, “Notice: Weapons of any kind prohibited.” With, in case the words we not clear enough, one of those universal icons that shows a circle and slash over a picture of a pistol and a knife.
The policy is based on the common sense understanding that the presence of firearms in any location exponentially increases the chance of an accidental death, the loss or theft of a weapon or, more spectacularly but less likely, a difference of opinion that escalates from words to bullets before cooler heads have a chance to prevail.
It would be interesting — if a violation of privacy — to hear the woman’s explanation to her children as to why the sign and the rule banning weapons did not apply to her. And her rationalization as to why her children should obey any signs or rules or laws after being exposed to her example.
Part of that explanation might be the sad fact that, for people who carry the absurdly easy-to-get Utah concealed carry permit, such posted firearms bans are, in keeping with the Pirate Code, more of a guideline. That there is no risk that a person violating the property-owner’s posted rule might cause a revocation, or even just a temporary suspension, of the permit.
The argument that all our gun-toters need to have their guns with them everywhere they go, to protect themselves and others from the next mass shooting, is overruled in this case by the clear fact that far too many of the people who carry guns aren’t James Bond. They are Frazzled Mom. Or Distracted Dad. A danger to themselves and others.